Why are animals used in research at MU?
The goal of animal research at MU is to help provide cures for diseases in both humans and animals. MU administration and researchers know that the only way to achieve this goal is to treat the animals with care and consideration and to minimize pain and distress. MU has many exciting areas of research utilizing animals including cancer, muscular dystrophy, and diabetes.
What regulations must MU follow to do animal research?
Animal research at MU is regulated by two United States government entities. The first is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA enforces the Animal Welfare Act. Our USDA registration number is 43R0048.
The second is the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) in the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In order to receive money from the NIH, MU is required to have an assurance with OLAW stating that we will follow the Public Health Service (PHS) Policy. The PHS Policy requires that MU follows the guidelines set out in the “Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals”. Our assurance with OLAW is number D16-00249.
Is there any other external oversight of animal research at MU?
All biomedical animal research at MU is accredited by AAALAC, International, which is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary assessment and accreditation. MU invites AAALAC to assess our animal research and teaching programs to assure that all laws, rules and guidelines governing animal research are being followed, that the animals are treated humanely, and to give us suggestions about how to improve our animal care program.
Is there any local oversight of animal research at MU?
All USDA-registered and OLAW-assured institutions are required to have an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. At MU, we call our committee the ACUC. The ACUC is made up of scientists, veterinarians, non-scientists, and community members. The ACUC is responsible for reviewing and approving all vertebrate animal research and teaching, making sure all MU animal facilities are adequate, and making sure personnel are trained properly to perform animal research.
Does MU adopt out animals after their research life is over?
Yes. MU researchers are encouraged to adopt out animals if the animals are healthy, compatible with adoption, and will make good pets. The MU animal adoption policy is here. MU is also teaming with Homes for Animal Heroes to adopt out older research animals that may need some foster training prior to finding a home. If MU does not have an animal available for adoption at the time you are ready to adopt, please visit your local shelter as there are many wonderful animals available there for adoption.
Is there support for the ACUC and animal researchers?
Yes. The Animal Care Quality Assurance (ACQA) office provides the ACUC and animal researchers with support by assuring that that animal research is performed humanely and follows all laws, rules, and guidelines. The ACQA office also helps makes sure that animal researchers and their laboratory personnel are properly trained to perform animal research and are aware of the occupational health and safety risks associated with animal research. The ACQA office can be reached at ACUC@missouri.edu.