Approved by: President
History: Issued             -- June 12, 2017
Revised            --
Last Reviewed --
Related Policies: Research Misconduct Policy
Additional References:

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee; National Institutes of Health Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare - guidance, principles and regulations

Responsible Official:

Provost tel. (202) 319-5244


I. Policy Purpose


The purpose of this policy is to describe the mission, scope, authority, and components of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) for ensuring that the welfare of all vertebrate animals used in research, testing and teaching at The Catholic University of America is protected, irrespective of funding source.

The mission of the IACUC is to promote the humane care and use of vertebrate animals in activities conducted on behalf of the University by adhering to the ethical principles outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research and Training, Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, Animal Welfare Act, and other applicable regulations and guidance.


II. Authority, Responsibility, and Independence of the IACUC


IACUC has the responsibility to oversee the entire University animal care and use program. To fulfill its oversight responsibilities, the IACUC has the authority to:

  • Oversee and mandate that research is designed and conducted in an ethical manner that protects the welfare of animals;
  • Approve, require modifications to secure approval, or disapprove all research, testing, or teaching involving animals;
  • Suspend or terminate approval of activities not being conducted in accordance with the IACUC's requirements or that has been associated with unexpected serious harm to animals;
  • Utilize the designated member review process as described by federal regulations;
  • Inspect all facilities where animals are being used;
  • Develop policies, guidelines and procedures governing the use of animals at The Catholic University of America.

The IACUC achieves its mission by:

  • Requiring that all activities involving animal subjects receive IACUC approvals before research and teaching activities are initiated;
  • Creating an environment at the university that promotes the ethical use of animals;
  • Maintaining an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to provide oversight of the Program and report findings to the Institutional Official (IO);
  • Appointing an Institutional Attending Veterinarian (AV) to oversee veterinary care for the IACUC;
  • Conducting post-approval monitoring activities to promote compliance with the requirements of the IACUC.

Animal use may be subject to further approval or disapproval by officials of the institution (i.e. President, Provost). No officials of the institution may approve animal subject use (i.e., authorize it to proceed) that has not been approved by the IACUC. The IACUC's decision-making must be independent from coercion or undue influence.

The performance of research, testing, or teaching involving animals without IACUC approval or exemption, or other violations of this policy, will be treated as research misconduct per the University's Research Misconduct Policy.


III. Animal Use Requirements


All research, testing, and teaching activities involving vertebrate animals overseen and conducted by faculty, students, and/or staff of The Catholic University of America, irrespective of funding source, must be reviewed by the IACUC unless the activity has been determined to be exempt. All exemptions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the IACUC Chair and the AV. This includes all work done off-site (at other research facilities) under the direction of or on behalf of University faculty, staff or students.

This policy and the guidelines and operating procedures implemented by the IACUC are intended to comply with Church teaching and all applicable federal regulations, guidance, and state laws governing the use of animals in research, testing, and teaching. These regulations and guidelines include but not limited to the following:

  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church #2417: "God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image. ... Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives."
  • Animal Welfare Act (AWA, Public Law 89-544, 7 U.S.C.)
  • Animal Welfare Act Regulations (AWAR, 9 CFR, Chapter 1, Subchapter A)
  • Health Research Extension Act of 1985 and Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals
  • National Research Council Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals
  • AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals
  • The Federation of Animal Science Societies Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching
  • Applicable DC laws