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Pepperdine's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

About Proper Animal Care and Use

The National Research Council's Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals states the following:

"Proper care, use, and humane treatment of animals used in research, testing and education […] require scientific and professional judgment based on the knowledge of the needs of the animals and the special requirements of the research, testing and educational programs […] Each institution should establish and provide resources for an animal care and use program that is managed in accord with (the) Guide and in compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.”

Federal law states that research involving animals is subject to a review process. Pepperdine’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), consisting of researchers, caretakers, a veterinarian, and an “outside” member meets to review proposed teaching and research projects involving animals. The IACUC is regulated by USDA federal regulations governing the use of animals (see Animal Welfare Act) and serves to assess the quality of each project and ensure the welfare of each animal. Furthermore, any institution receiving federal funding for research involving animals is mandated to comply with the regulations set forth by the Public Health Service Policy and the NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (see the Office for Laboratory Animal Welfare’s website).

Compliance under the Pepperdine IACUC

To fully meet federally-mandated animal care and use requirements, Pepperdine has also established an occupational health and safety program. Participation in this program ensures that faculty, students, and other personnel who engage in activities involving the care and use of vertebrate animals have read an occupational health and safety brochure, completed web-based training, provided a completed health questionnaire, and undergone a medical clearance prior to beginning the research.

Concerns and complaints regarding animal care and use at Pepperdine can be submitted through the IACUC office preferably submitted in writing, and signed by the person filing the complaint. Anonymously-reported concerns and complaints are also investigated. To report an anonymous concern please consult the University Policy for Responding to Allegations of Scientific Misconduct found here.  

Who should complete the compliance requirements and when should they do so?

If you or your students will handle vertebrate animals (mice, rats, dogs, cats, snakes, frogs, birds, etc.) for research or educational purposes, you must ensure that students involved complete the health, safety, and training requirements described under “Steps to Compliance at Pepperdine”. These steps should be taken upon completion of the Request for Use of Animals form, which should be submitted 45 days prior to the onset of your project.

  • Students who handle animals in courses and/or in the process of conducting research projects, whether those be self-directed projects under your supervision or as a part of your lab
  • Faculty who handle animals in courses and/or for research

Required steps to be in compliance at Pepperdine

  1. Complete the Request for Use of Animals form (Research or Education). Complete Step 1
  2. Ensure all those involved in handling animals read the Occupational Health and Safety Brochure and read the literature that is specific for the animal species used. Complete Step 2
  3. Ensure all those involved in handling animals complete the CITI training course (s) with an 80% passing score. Complete Step 3
  4. Ensure all those involved in handling animals complete a Health Questionnaire and receive medical clearance. Complete Step 4

When your project receives the IACUC’s approval

When projects involving animals are approved, it is expected that they will “a) increase knowledge of the processes underlying the evolution, development, maintenance, alteration, control or biological significance of (whatever is being studied), b) increase understanding of the species under study, or c) provide results that benefit the health or welfare of humans or other animals.” (APA Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in the Care and Use of Animals, Section VI.A.) Experiments will only be approved by the IACUC if they meet the following criteria in accordance with the principle of “the three R’s”:

  • REFINE methods so that the work does not cause undue pain and suffering to the animals. Work should be conducted only by people who are appropriately trained in handling animals.
  • REDUCE the number of animals so that the work does not use more animals than is necessary. Students will often be required to work in groups so that fewer animals can be used.
  • REPLACE animals with other alternatives whenever possible. Attempts should be made to use the alternatives such as computer models when available. Vertebrate animals will be used only as long as it has been demonstrated that invertebrates will not be appropriate.