Office of Animal Care Compliance (OACC)

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)


The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) was first established in 1970 as an advisory committee on issues related to the laboratory animal program of the University. In 1985, The Public Health Service endorsed the Health Resource Extension Act of 1985 and published the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals to address the provisions of the Act. Also in 1985, the USDA Animal Welfare Act was amended to include policies addressing animal research. The Animal Welfare Act and the Public Health Service Policy mandated the establishment of an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to oversee the animal care and use program. The Public Health Service Policy applies to institutions receiving federal funds through the PHS and addresses the use of all living vertebrate animals. The Animal Welfare Act regulates the use of warm-blooded mammals, excluding some of the smaller laboratory species. Both the Animal Welfare Act and the PHS Policy stipulate the composition of the IACUC. To satisfy both regulations, the IACUC must be at least 5 members, and must include an individual unaffiliated with the institution, a veterinarian with program responsibility, a practicing scientist experienced in research involving animals and a member whose concerns are in a nonscientific area.


The functions and responsibilities of the IACUC are to provide oversight of the institutions’ animal care and use program and facilities. These responsibilities are further delineated as follows:

  1. Conduct semi-annual reviews of the institutions program for the humane care and use of animals.
  2. Conduct semi-annual inspections of all institutional animal facilities and laboratories where animal activity occurs.
  3. Prepare reports of these committee evaluations and submit the reports to the Institutional Officials.
  4. Review concerns involving the care and use of animals at the Institution.
  5. Make recommendations to the Institutional Officials regarding any aspect of the institutional animal program, facilities or personnel training.
  6. Review and approve, require modifications in or withhold approval of activities related to the care and use of animals (Animal Care and Use Protocol Review).
  7. Review and approve, require modifications in or withhold approval of proposed significant changes regarding the use of animals in ongoing activities (Review Amendments to Animal Care and Use Protocols).
  8. Be authorized to suspend any activity involving animals.

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee require that an Animal Protocol be submitted for all educational, research, teaching and testing projects that will utilize live animals or (non-living) tissues from species regulated by the Animal Welfare Act -"covered species". All Animal Protocols are reviewed by the IACUC. The review process includes initial review by the IACUC-designated primary and secondary reviewers, and the Attending Veterinarian. All questions or concerns raised in this preliminary review process must be answered before the IACUC will consider formal action on the Protocol.

Reporting Animal Concerns

Anyone who has concerns about the treatment or use of animals or witnesses improper or unapproved animal care or use procedures is encouraged to report. Reports can be made anonymously and no adverse action will be taken against anyone making a genuine report. Please report your concerns to one of the following and it will be investigated. Director of the Animal Resource Facility 272-8126; the Office of Animal Care and Compliance 272-0418; or email:EthicalAnimalUse@salud.unm.edu All inquiries will be kept confidential.

When a concern is reported, an IACUC subcommittee established by the chairperson will conduct an immediate review of the concern(s). Anyone who is the subject of a concern or complaint will be notified of the concerns expressed. The findings of the initial review may be taken before the convened IACUC for discussion. If warranted, the IACUC may suspend animal research activities or make recommendations for disciplinary action to the appropriate UNM authority.

Regulations and Policies

Semi-annual Inspection Checklist
Semi-annual Program & Facility Review Checklist

There is a dedicated computer work station available in our office for TOPAZ protocol entry. Call (272-0418/6806) or come down to BRF G37J and get individualized help with your TOPAZ submissions!