The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, 8th edition, indicates that the IACUC Committee is responsible for the oversight and evaluation of the entire program and its components including inspection of facilities and animal use areas. USDA regulations and NIH PHS Policy for the use of animals in research, require IACUCs to review the animal care program and inspect animal facilities and animal study areas at least every six months.
What is the purpose of the semiannual program review and facility inspections?
The IACUC is committed to the welfare of animals by ensuring compliance with all legal and ethical standards regarding the use of animals in research. As part of the Program Review, the IACUC will examine the entire animal care and use program, including its own policies and procedures. The Facility Inspections are conducted to ensure researchers are complying with the regulations relating to animal research, including evaluation of potential hazards and safety considerations for both animals and personnel, housing, husbandry and procedures, and general laboratory maintenance.
Where do inspections take place?
The semiannual inspections review the CELS Vivarium housing and procedure rooms, PI research labs where animals are housed and used, and satellite facilities.
Who conducts the inspections?
The site visit team is composed of at least two members of the MSU IACUC, one of which may be the Attending Veterinarian. Site visitors may ask questions about animal use as it relates to each project.
What can I do to prepare for the semiannual inspections?
The IACUC office will email Principal Investigators about two weeks prior to the scheduled semiannual inspection with the date and approximate time of the inspection, and with a list of findings from the previous two inspections. Researchers should review previous findings to ensure that findings aren’t recurring and individuals have been trained to prevent repeat occurrence.
For laboratories outside of the LAR, a laboratory representative must be present at the time of inspection to allow access to the committee. The representative must be knowledgeable about the laboratory and the research animal experimental procedures in order to answer any questions or provide requested information about research activities of that laboratory.
For laboratories inside the LAR Vivarium, a research representative is welcome to be present for the inspection to answer any questions, however, this is not mandatory. An LAR representative will be present to lead the committee through the inspection.
The inspectors follow a facility inspection checklist prepared by the IACUC office in accordance with guidance from the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW). As such, investigators should be prepared to have available the following:
- Most recently-approved full IACUC Protocol with approved procedures and personnel training
- All animal identification, health, anesthesia, surgery, medical, procedural and post-operational records
- Euthanasia methods must be in accordance with AVMA Guidelines and IACUC-approved
- Aseptic technique must be adhered to and documented
- Drugs, including Controlled Substances, and Drug Records
- DEA Controlled Substances storage must be double locked at all times (i.e. lockbox within a locked room, lockbox within a safe that is secured to the wall or floor, locked safe in a locked room, etc.) and logs must be present and accurate.
- All materials labeled to indicate the drug name, aliquot or other substance and expiration date or date made.
- Any expired items must be discarded or appropriately labeled “EXPIRED – Not for Use in Animals” and stored separately.
- Animal use areas (including benchtop areas) cleared of all clutter and debris and clean and safe for use of animals, sanitation records and/or SOPs may be requested.
- Safety considerations e.g. sharps in sharps containers
- Husbandry procedures
- Cage cards, Housing records, daily room records and animal husbandry logs to ensure these meet the standards set forth in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals
- Equipment service records
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
- Posted signs (e.g., Emergency Contact Lists, Reporting Animal Welfare Concerns, Incident Reporting)
- Any other items or information deemed pertinent to animal welfare and facility compliance
What is the schedule of inspections?
The MSU IACUC conducts semiannual facility inspections twice a year, in October/November and again in April/May. The IACUC office will email Principal Investigators about two weeks prior to the scheduled semiannual inspection with the date and approximate time of the inspection. When a laboratory is outside of the LAR, a representative must be present as specified above. If an LAR research PI wishes to be present for the inspection and has time constraints, they should respond to the notification email promptly to make suitable arrangements.
PI’s will be emailed again the week of the inspection and given a confirmed time.
How will I be notified about findings in my lab?
Investigators with significant findings will be notified via email on the day of the inspection and given a date and plan for correction. Investigators with minor findings will be notified via email within 3-5 business days of the inspection and given a date and plan for correction, usually about a two-week timeframe. Each deficiency must be corrected by the date specified in the report and any requests for extensions should be sent to the IACUC office.
The IACUC staff will follow up with your lab until all deficiencies have been addressed and finalized. Some areas may be revisited to confirm the deficiencies have been corrected.