Animals in Research — Federal Laws and Accreditation

When a researcher conducts a study using animals, they must fully adhere to the intricate system of laws, regulations and guidelines put in place to safeguard the welfare of the research animals in their studies. UTMB has an Office of Sponsored Programs that ensures that researchers maintain all compliances related to research.

These studies must comply with all federal guidelines and be conducted in facilities that are in accordance with laws and standards for animal research and care, including the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Act, The Public Health Service’s Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, The American Veterinary Medical Association Guidelines on Euthanasia and undergo regular inspections by various groups. For more information on these inspections, please visit the Monitoring of Research Involving Laboratory Animals webpage.

Some animal testing conducted to support applications for medical products regulated by FDA requires compliance with FDA’s regulation, Good Laboratory Practice for Nonclinical Laboratory Studies. For some studies, particularly studies evaluating new vaccines and therapeutics in BSL3/4 biocontainment, FDA recommends use of GLP to the extent practicable. GLP contains comprehensive information guiding all aspects of research with animals, including the personnel, environment, testing facilities, testing equipment and records management.

UTMB is accredited by AAALAC International, a private, non-profit organization that fosters the compassionate treatment of animals in research through voluntary accreditation. For more information on how to become accredited, please visit the Monitoring of Research Involving Laboratory Animals webpage.

The majority of research studies involving animals are funded by federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health. The NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare has the legal responsibility to develop policies that define the scope of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

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