IACUC Committee Composition Rules

Both the USDA (via AWA) and the PHS require educational and research organizations to have an IACUC. However, because each agency's purpose is different, the regulations are similar but not identical.

AWA Rules (USDA): Each research facility must establish at least one committee (IACUC) composed of at least three members. Of these members, one will be the chair of the IACUC, and there must be at least 2 additional members; one shall be a doctor of veterinary medicine and at least one who is not affiliated with the facility other than as a member of the IACUC. The chief executive officer of the research facility is responsible for appointing the IACUC members.

PHS Rules: If an institution has an Animal Welfare Assurance on file with the NIH Office for Protection from Research Risks (OPRR), then the institution must comply with the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHS Policy) regarding IACUC membership and functions. The PHS Policy specifies that an IACUC shall consist of not less than five members, and shall include at least: one Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, with training or experience in laboratory animal science and medicine, who has direct or delegated program responsibility for activities involving animals at the institution; one practicing scientist experienced in research involving animals; one member whose primary concerns are in a nonscientific area; and one individual who is not affiliated with the institution in any way other than as a member of the IACUC, and is not a member of the immediate family of a person who is affiliated with the institution (PHS Policy IV.A.3.b). In addition, institutions are reminded that in order to be consistent with the provisions of the 1996 Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, nonaffiliated members should not be laboratory animal users.

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) governs the use of animals in research. The AWA regulates breeding, transportation, housing, enrichment, veterinary care, research protocols, and euthanasia methods. The AWA applies to all species of warm-blooded vertebrate animals used for research, testing, or teaching, except farm animals used for agricultural research.

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