Additional Sites and Resources – IACUC

The Basics

Animal Alternatives

Specific Laws and Related Documents

  • ILAR’s Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals 8th edition (2011), available from the National Academy Press, provides standards for the care and use of live, vertebrate animals in biomedical research. A free PDF version is available from NIH at
  • American Society of Animal Science Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals 4th edition (2020)
  • Title 9, Code of Federal Regulations contains large sections of regulation enforcing the federal Animal Welfare Act. These regulations have the force of law and govern many aspects of laboratory animal care and use.
  • The Health Research Extension Act (HREA) is the law that provides funding for the National Institutes of Health and certain other federal funding agencies. It’s animal welfare provisions apply to all facilities that accept federal funds and use live vertebrate animals in research.
  • The passage of the HREA led to the drafting of the US Public Health Service Policy which instructs research facilities how they must conduct themselves to receive federal funding for research involving live, vertebrate animals.

The Institute for Laboratory Animal Resources (ILAR)

  • Receipt of federal funding requires institutions to provide animal care in accordance with the National Research Council’s ILAR Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.
  • ILAR also publishes a number of useful documents about laboratory animals including:
    • Principles and Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Pre college Education. The use of animals in secondary schools is unregulated. If you work with pre-college students or science fairs, this is a must read document.
    • Standardized Nomenclature for Transgenic Animals
    • Amphibians: Guidelines for the Breeding, Care, and Management of Laboratory Animals

Biological Safety in Animal Facilities

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

  • The AVMA’s Guidelines on Euthanasia uses the best scientific evidence to determine what methods of euthanasia are professionally acceptable. This document has been incorporated into both the Animal Welfare Act and the Public Health Service Policy as the single authoritative document determining how research animals may be euthanized.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

  • The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Animal Care enforces the federal Animal Welfare Act. They have a network of Animal Welfare Inspectors throughout the US. They have been known to visit UC Davis as frequently as 50 times per year. All USDA inspections are unannounced, and they have a right to visit any animal holding area and any research lab in which animals are used.
  • Of particular interest is their Animal Welfare Inspection Guide. This document determines many of the actions that our IACUC must take as they inspect facilities and review protocols. Among these are:
    • USDA’s policies on Adequate Veterinary Care
    • USDA’s guidelines for a adequate literature search for alternatives to potentially painful procedures.
    • Definitions of major and multiple survival surgery.
    • What procedures are considered painful or distressful.
    • USDA’s requirement for an annual report of animal numbers for research facilities.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)


  • AAALAC International is a voluntary accrediting body that visits institutions and assures their compliance with all existing laws, regulations, and guidelines. Over 80% of the top 100 federally funded research facilities in the United States are accredited by AAALAC. AAALAC publishes a list of AAALAC Accredited Institutions. They also provide a series of carefully considered position statements about a variety of program issues, including adequate veterinary care, occupational health programs, farm animals, survival surgical facilities, etc.


  • The American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine is a professional specialty board that certifies veterinarians with special expertise in Laboratory Animal Medicine. Of particular interest is their public policy statement on Adequate Veterinary Care, which provides a professional consensus as to what constitutes adequate veterinary care for research animals.

Advocacy Groups

The Administrative Responsibilities Handbook

  • The Administrative Responsibilities Handbook is an essential reference for anyone in a supervisory or managerial role, and anyone who makes budget decisions or has responsibility for safety, emergency preparedness or regulatory compliance. It pulls together, in one place, all of the references that UC Davis administrators need to be effective stewards of the university’s resources.  The Handbook outlines and clarifies the authorities, responsibilities, principles and risk factors faced by individuals tasked with administering academic and non-academic functions on a daily basis.

The Guide to Research Compliance for Principal Investigators and Department Administrators

  • Provided by the UC Davis Office of Research, the Guide to Research Compliance for Principal Investigators and Department Administrators provides an overview of policies and regulations in reference to award terms and conditions, federal, state and local regulations, and university policies directly related to their research.