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GUIDELINES FOR THE USE OF NON-HUMAN VERTEBRATE ANIMALS IN RESEARCH AND TEACHING

1. Every use of vertebrate animals in research and teaching (including the use of embryos, fish, and wild caught animals, or the observation of animals in the wild) must be approved in advance by the Harvard University/Faculty of Arts and Sciences (HU/FAS) Standing Committee on the Use of Animals in Research and Teaching, Harvardís Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).1 To obtain IACUC approval, an investigator/instructor must file with the IACUC a completed Animal Experimentation Protocol. These forms are available from and must be returned electronically to the Animal Research Studies Administrator (617-495-1510). Originals of the signed face pages must be mailed to the HU/FAS Animal Research Studies Administrator, who is located at the Science Center, Harvard University, One Oxford Street — Room 124, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138.

2. ALL research and teaching involving the use of vertebrate laboratory animals, regardless of funding source or source of animals, must be reviewed and approved by the Standing Committee on the Use of Animals in Research and Teaching (IACUC) prior to the start of the animal research portion of the project. Any investigator planning to house animals at any Harvard University animal facility must have an approved Animal Experimentation Protocol even before the animals may be ordered.

Any changes in the experimentation procedures, the number of animals to be used (increase or decrease), the species to be used, or the personnel involved with the protocol must be reviewed and approved by the IACUC before such changes occur.

3. This University has a centralized vertebrate animal procurement policy that prohibits the acquisition of vertebrate animals by individual laboratories.

  1. Every vertebrate animal used in research or teaching must be obtained through, or authorized by, the Office of Animal Resources (OAR) Animal Procurement Coordinator (617-496-9989), who will verify that an approved Animal Experimentation Protocol is on file.
  2. The centralized procurement policy covers all vertebrate animals to be acquired through orders from vendors, imports from other labs or institutions, and caught from the wild.
  3. Without prior approval from the OAR Animal Procurement Coordinator, vertebrate animals may not be brought into any OAR managed animal facility or individual laboratory for research or teaching purposes from outside facilities or research areas, from the wild, or from any other source.

4. All research and teaching utilizing vertebrate animals must be conducted on premises approved by the IACUC and registered with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The IACUC will inspect all animal housing facilities and research/teaching areas regularly. Facilities/areas may also be inspected without prior notice by several outside bodies (the USDA, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Animal Rescue League, and the Commissioner of Laboratory Animals for the City of Cambridge). The Associate Director for Animal Care in the Office of Animal Resources (617-384-9563) and the Animal Research Studies Administrator should be informed of any request from an outside body to inspect before individuals are admitted so that a representative from the IACUC can be present during the inspection.

5. A program of adequate veterinary care shall be available at all times to members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences through the Office of Animal Resources of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences or the Center for Animal Resources and Comparative Medicine of the Harvard Medical School.

Compliance with Regulations

A course is offered several times each year to familiarize faculty, students, and staff with regulations, humane treatment, and health hazards involved in using animals in their research/teaching. All research/teaching involving animals must be supervised either by someone who has completed this course or by someone whose qualifications to carry out experiments have been independently approved by the IACUC. Please contact the Animal Research Studies Administrator for course dates and times.

6. All federal, state, city of Cambridge, and Harvard University laws and regulations on animal experimentation shall be followed. 2

7. The recommendations for an adequate policy of good care contained in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals3 shall be followed.

8. The IACUC is responsible for preventing or stopping any experiment or exercise it considers improper or out of compliance with an approved protocol.

9. Depending on the species utilized and the funding source, the IACUC may be obligated by Public Health Service policy and the Animal Welfare Act to report instances of serious deviation from approved protocols or continuing noncompliance to the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) and/or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC).

Care and Humane Treatment of Animals

10. Animals in the laboratory must receive every consideration for their bodily comfort. They must be kindly treated and properly fed, and their surroundings must be maintained in the best possible sanitary condition.

11. Appropriate anesthetics, analgesics, and tranquilizing drugs must be used to eliminate sensibility to pain and distress. Surgery must be carried out in appropriate facilities under aseptic conditions by an investigator qualified by experience or training in experimental surgery, or under the direct supervision of such an investigator. The investigator in charge must be prepared to terminate the experiment whenever its continuation may result in unnecessary injury or suffering to the animal. Muscle relaxants and sedatives are not anesthetics and may not be used alone for surgical restraint. They may be used for surgery in conjunction with drugs known to produce analgesia.

The postoperative care of animals shall seek to minimize discomfort and pain. A plan for the use of postoperative analgesics must be submitted within the Animal Experimentation Protocol and the approved plan MUST be followed.  Postoperative records indicating postoperative analgesic administration must be maintained to assure proper evaluation of the animalís health and well-being.

12. Medical records indicating all procedures followed and details of all medications administered must be kept and be made available for inspection by OAR veterinarians, OAR animal care staff, IACUC members, and authorized outside inspectors. 

13. Where the study does not require recovery from anesthesia, the animal must be killed in a humane manner at the conclusion of the observations. This University follows the recommendations of the 2000 Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia. Prior to disposal of the animal, a qualified individual shall confirm that the animal is dead. Approved methods of animal disposal must always be used; this function shall be organized through the Office of Animal Resources.

Guidelines for anesthesia and euthanasia are available from the Animal Research Studies Administrator.

14. All animals and cages must be appropriately identified or labeled to ensure correct use and care.

15. Every death, infection, or infestation of laboratory animals that is not induced experimentally must be promptly reported to the responsible investigator, the Associate Director of Animal Care, and the OAR Veterinary Staff.

Personnel and Animal Safety

17. In order to ensure the safety of research personnel and the safety of the research animals, Harvard University requires participation in the Occupational Health Program (OHP) for all individuals (including students, faculty, research staff, maintenance personnel, and visitors) who have contact with vertebrate animals. OHP enrollment forms may be obtained from the Animal Research Studies Administrator. Access to animal facilities will be contingent upon participation in the Occupational Health Program.

18. AALAS (American Association for Laboratory Animal Science) certification of all permanent animal care technicians is desirable and will be an objective of the program.

19. All personnel entering animal housing facilities will be furnished suitable protective clothing and must remove such clothing before entering other work areas or leaving areas in which animals have been exposed to infectious agents, radioisotopes, toxic chemicals, or other agents that may present hazards to personnel or to other animals.

20. Eating, drinking, and smoking are not permitted within animal rooms.

21. All Animal Experimentation Protocols indicating the use of infectious agents, radioisotopes, or toxic chemicals must also be reviewed and approved by the Committee on Microbiological Safety (COMS) and/or the Office of Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S).

Cages and animal rooms in which radioisotopes, toxic chemicals, or infectious agents are employed must be appropriately labeled.  Standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the disposal of animal bedding/waste and personal protective equipment (PPE) and the cleaning of caging equipment used by animals exposed to the above mentioned hazards, must be followed.

22. All areas in which experimental animals are kept are restricted areas and are not to be entered by unauthorized persons. Out of concern for their health, children should not be admitted into any animal facility.  Only OAR animal care personnel, veterinary staff members, IACUC members, authorized maintenance personnel, inspection agency representatives, and personnel listed on IACUC approved Animal Experimentation Protocols may enter animal holding or use areas.

These guidelines apply to (a) all persons who working in facilities or laboratories administered by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and (b) all students enrolled at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences who have contact with vertebrate animals through research or teaching.

Revised April 19, 2006


Footnotes

1. The Committee on the Use of Animals in Research and Teaching is the Standing Committee of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences responsible for the use of animals within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. It adopted an earlier version of these guidelines in 1984. This Committee is the official Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

2. These include Code of Federal Regulations (9 CFR Parts 1-3), United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources, Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council, National Academy Press publication (ISBN 0-309-05377-3), revised 2 January 1996; the Good Laboratory Practices Act, Food and Drug Administration (when applicable); Public Law 93-205, Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service; and Chapters 49A and 573, Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

3. The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources, Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council, National Academy Press publication (ISBN 0-309-05377-3), revised 2 January 1996