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Animal Use and Care Research Policies

A. Mission Statement
Roger Williams University recognizes the scientific and ethical responsibility for the humane care and use of animals involved in research and education and requires all individuals involved to maintain the highest standards of animal care and consideration. This concern extends to investigators to protect the animals as well as to comply with the specific regulations established and required by the sponsors of their research, University policies and/or Federal regulations.

B. Ethical Issues
The welfare of animals in education and research, carries with it significant obligations. Hence, each staff member, student, faculty member, or research investigator is directly responsible to promote and protect animal care and use within the instructional and research program of the University.

Roger Williams University is guided by the ethical principles set forth by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Policy that requires the appointment of an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). In accordance with this federal policy, this committee shall oversee protocols relating to the care and use of animals for research and teaching purposes at RWU.

C. Federal Regulations
The procurement, care, and use of the animals shall conform to the NIH Guide of the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals in Research (DHEW 78-23), reprinted in 1980 (DHEW 80-23 or succeeding editions) and shall be in accordance with the regulations established under the terms of the Animal Welfare Act, all applicable state and local laws, and the National Academy of Science’s Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. The housing, care, feeding, and daily observations of all animals must be supervised by individuals knowledgeable in such matters.

The "US Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training" were developed by the US Government’s interagency research animal committee. Both the NIH Policy and the University Policy require that all uses of animals conform to these principles:

  1. The transportation, care and use of animals should be in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C.2131 et. seq.) and other applicable federal laws, guidelines, and policies.
  2. Procedures involving animals should be designed and performed with due consideration of their relevance to human or animal health, the advancement of knowledge, or the good of society.
  3. The animals selected for a procedure should be of an appropriate species and quality and the minimum number required to obtain valid results.
  4. The use of animals should be planned and conducted so as to avoid unnecessary discomfort, distress, and pain to any animal. Unless the contrary is established, investigators should consider that procedures that cause pain or distress in human beings may cause pain or distress in other animals.
  5. Procedures with animals that may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress should be performed with appropriate sedation, analgesia, or anesthesia. Surgical or other painful procedures should not be performed on unanesthetized animals.
  6. Animals that would otherwise suffer severe or chronic pain or distress that cannot be relieved should be painlessly killed at the end of the procedure, or, if appropriate, during the procedure.
  7. The living conditions of animals should be appropriate for their species and contribute to their health and comfort. Normally the housing, feeding, and care of all animals used for biomedical purposes must be directed by a veterinarian or other scientist trained and experienced in the proper care, handling, and use of the species being maintained or studied. In any case, veterinary care shall be provided as indicated.
  8. Investigators and other personnel shall be appropriately qualified and experienced in conducting procedures on living animals. Adequate arrangements shall be made for inservice training, including the proper and humane care and use of laboratory animals.
  9. Where exceptions are required in relation to the provisions of the Principles, the decisions should not rest with the investigators directly concerned, but should be made with due regard by an appropriate review group, such as an institutional animal research committee. Such exceptions should not be made solely for the purposes of teaching or demonstration.
  10. Procedures involving field observations on marine mammals require a General Authorization for Scientific Research issued by NOAA for Level B harassment, as per the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.

D. General Policies and Procedures
Using animals for research, teaching, and testing is accompanied by both ethical and legal responsibilities to use them appropriately, both scientifically and humanely. Individual faculty members who use animals in their research or teaching, including those whose research consists of field work involving animals, are, by law, accountable for conforming to the basic regulations and policies governing animal use on campus. Policy decisions at RWU have been made to address research with limited groups of vertebrates (fish, amphibians and marine mammals). Policies may be modified when and if additional groups of animals are used at the institution. These regulations and policies involve:

  1. the acquisition, care, and use of animals
  2. efforts to minimize animal pain and distress
  3. the training of personnel who use animals
  4. consideration of alternatives to animal use
  5. methods whereby deficiencies in animal care and treatment are reported

Individuals who use animals must know, understand, and comply with applicable laws, regulations, and policies. They are responsible for properly instructing students and employees. The laws governing the use of animals are framed to ensure compliance via both civil and criminal laws. Failure to comply may carry penalties that range from substantial fines to “cease and desist” orders that can suspend all animal research, and all funding for animal research at the offending institution. As a matter of educational policy, faculty who do not themselves use animals must be aware of these regulations and policies, since their students may use animals at a later time. All faculty, staff and students preparing to submit a protocol to the IACUC committee must first complete the online training course at www.citiprogram.org

Any faculty member, staff member, or student who believes that any of the above mentioned principles are being violated may submit a written request to the Roger Williams University IACUC for a review of the procedure or situation. The Committee shall review all pertinent facts regarding the alleged violation, and if a violation has occurred, the Committee will recommend corrective action to the responsible individuals, including the appropriate Department Coordinator, Dean of the College, and Chief Academic Officer (Provost).

E. Adjunct Faculty Research
All adjunct faculty research must be co-sponsored by the Dean of the College, where the research will be conducted. Research project proposals must then be submitted to Roger Williams University IACUC for review and approval.

F. Research at Other Institutions
If a collaborative research project to be conducted at RWU with live vertebrate animals has been reviewed and approved by another College or University, the research proposal and the signed cover sheet from the said Institution must be submitted to the Roger Williams University IACUC for review and approval.