Prior to the initiation of any research or teaching which utilizes vertebrate animals, it is necessary to have an approved Animal Care and Use Protocol Form on file. These forms are available on the ACUC website.

It is crucial that these forms be completed thoroughly with attention to detail. It also important to write them in lay terms when possible so all committee members and to show compassion and sensitivity toward any potential pain or discomfort which the animals may suffer. A clear and precisely written Animal Care and Use Protocol Form is the best way to insure that you can continue research and instruction using animals.

Part one is the general portion of the form, which is required for all projects involving vertebrate animals. Part two is required only on projects which involve surgical procedures. Part three is required only if you are using wild-caught animals, and part four is required only for projects involving non-human primates.

Once you have your form prepared, be sure that you have all appropriate signatures. These include your department chairperson, the director or department chairperson where the animals are to be housed, and the principal investigator. For all projects at Pioneer Farm, the Farm Director must either sign the protocol form (currently not a direct location to sign) or send (or attach) an approval letter. The committee chair will also contact appropriate enterprise or lab managers to confirm that the principal investigator has been in contact and that the enterprise or lab can accommodate the request.

Once the ACUC chair receives the form, he/she will confirm completeness and accuracy. The chair will then send out the protocol form to all committee members. Committee members will review the form and reply with any questions or concerns to the committee chair. If there are no questions or concerns, the committee chair will designate one committee member to fully review the protocol and:

  1. approve as written
  2. approve pending the receipt of additional information or clarification
  3. delay approval until additional information or clarification can be reviewed
  4. require part or all of the proposal to be rewritten and resubmitted
  5. deny approval

If approval is delayed or withheld (C, D, E), a full committee review will be required. Review by the full committee can have the same outcomes as above (A - E), with approval being granted by a majority vote (quorum).

Note: All protocols involving more than momentary pain or distress ( > category 1), including euthanasia and surgery, will automatically require a full committee review.

Following approval, you will receive an approval letter and copies of any changes to your original document which occurred during the approval process. Approval letters are only valid if they have the ACUC chairperson's signature.

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