The use of live vertebrate animals in research and educational programs in the United States must be in accordance with the Public Health Service's Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, the Amended Animal Welfare Act of 1985, and the regulations of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
To comply with these policies and regulations, every research institution in the United States must have an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). This committee has to be appointed and has to be representative of the entire institution.
The University of Missouri at Kansas City must remain in compliance with the policies and regulations governing the use of live vertebrate animals in research and educational programs. The UMKC IACUC is the agent responsible for ensuring this compliance.
The IACUC has the authority and is required to comply with the National Research Council's Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and the UMKC is accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care
As an independent entity, the IACUC is charged with the following responsibilities:
- Review and approval of research and teaching protocols involving the use of live vertebrate animals.
- Review and approval of the institutional program for the care and welfare of live vertebrate animals used in research and educational programs.
- The inspection and evaluation of the facilities in which animals are housed and maintained.
The review of the Animal Protocol is one of the methods the IACUC uses to oversee the use of animals by university personnel. All faculty who conduct research or educational programs using live vertebrate animals are required to submit an Animal Protocol to the IACUC for evaluation and approval. The information requested in the Animal Protocol is dictated by governing federal, state, local and institutional policies and regulations. The requested information is essential in order for the IACUC to be able to evaluate a proposal, to determine whether the proposed use and care of live vertebrate animals is in compliance with existing policies and regulations, and to determine whether the proposal should be approved by the Committee. An approved Animal Protocol is required before any research or educational project using live vertebrate animals commences.