Compliance Processes

Our university remains committed to upholding the highest standards of animal care and use in research. By promptly addressing and rectifying instances of non-compliance, we prioritize animal welfare and maintain ethical research practices.

Identifying Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with approved animal use protocols may occur due to various reasons such as protocol drift, inadequate record-keeping, communication problems, or human error. Any concerned party, including the Principal Investigator (PI), research team members, veterinary or animal care staff, ACUC members, and others, can identify instances of non-compliance. These concerns should be reported through the Post-Approval Monitoring log.

Corrective Measures

The initial assessment of non-compliance and finding ways to rectify the situation is the responsibility of the ACUC (Animal Care and Use Committee).
The ACUC has the authority to require corrections and impose specific conditions for continued animal use, as per university policy and regulatory requirements. The focus is on bringing the protocol back into compliance. In cases where non-compliance is minor and unintentional, with no adverse impact on animal welfare, the emphasis is on explanation and correction rather than sanctions.

Preventing Recurrence

To prevent future incidents of non-compliance, the ACUC may implement several measures, including:
  • Counseling and collaboration: The ACUC may organize meetings with the PI and research team to discuss the non-compliance incident, identify contributing factors, and provide guidance on avoiding similar issues in the future.
  • Training requirements: Specific training programs may be mandated to enhance the understanding and adherence to animal use protocols and standard operational procedures ensuring that researchers are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills.
  • Monitoring and oversight: The ACUC, along with its delegates such as the Post-Approval Monitoring (PAM) Coordinator and Veterinarian, may conduct regular monitoring of research, testing, or training involving animals.
  • Revoking privileges and suspending protocols: In cases where non-compliance persists despite corrective measures, the ACUC may revoke animal care or research privileges or suspend the protocols until compliance is achieved. These actions are taken to safeguard the welfare of animals and maintain ethical standards.
  • Reporting and collaboration: The ACUC may notify relevant individuals and departments, such as the Department Chair and Associate Dean (Research), about the actions taken to address non-compliance. Additionally, if necessary, the ACUC may recommend initiating a complaint under the Research and Scholarship Integrity Policy, potentially leading to institutional sanctions. In certain cases, funding or regulatory agencies may also be notified as required.

Serious Incidents

While rare, serious incidents of animal care non-compliance demand immediate attention. These incidents involve situations where animals experience pain, distress, suffering, or inadequate care, housing, maintenance, or monitoring. In such cases, the University Veterinarian, in consultation with the Chair of the Animal Care and Use Committee, will take swift action, including the suspension of protocols and notifying relevant parties.