The OACC will ensure compliance with federal and state laws, regulations and guidelines. The OACC will promote the “three R’s” of replacement, refinement, and reduction when reviewing animal care and use protocols, and will provide services and resources that investigators need to accomplish their research goals. The OACC recognizes and emphasizes that animal research is a privilege not a right.

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 (PHS) endorsed the Health Resource Extension Act of 1985 and published the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals to address the provisions of the Act. Also in 1985, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Welfare Act (AWA) was amended to include policies addressing animal research. The AWA and the PHS Policy mandated the establishment of an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to oversee the animal care and use program. The PHS Policy applies to institutions receiving federal funds through the PHS and addresses the use of all living vertebrate animals. The AWA regulates the use of warm-blooded mammals, excluding laboratory mice of genus Mus, laboratory rats of genus Rattus, and some studies with free living wildlife. Both the AWA 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 education and experience 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:

 Conduct semi-annual reviews of the institutions program for the humane care and use of animals.

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

The IACUC requires 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 AWA -"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 (AV). All questions or concerns raised in this preliminary review process must be answered before the IACUC will consider formal action on the Protocol.

All UNM affiliated personnel must have an approved animal care and use protocol to conduct research (including field observations) using live, vertebrate animals (amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, or reptiles) or vertebrate animal tissue (including blood or cells).

Breeding, Display, or Holding, Laboratory, Field, or Teaching, and Collaborative or Tissue protocol forms are available to meet your needs.

There are blanket Museum of Southwestern biology (MSB) protocols by division which cover research with specimens within museum collections.

We use an electronic protocol submission and animal orders, census, and billing system called TOPAZ Elements. Power Point tutorials are available which illustrate how to submit, amend, or renew protocols in TOPAZ.

The Animal Resource Facility (ARF) is responsible for animal orders, census, or billing inquiries. An HSC Novell username and password must be obtained in order to access the TOPAZ system.

Requirements to handle animals

Do you have your mandatory annual medical clearance through Employee Occupational Health Services (EOHS) to work with animals or their blood/tissues/cells? If not:

  1. Complete the appropriate animal contact health history questionnaire:
  2. Email the completed animal contact health history questionnaire to HSC-EOHSForms@salud.unm.edu

Employee Occupational Health

COEHP (505-272-8043)

WHO needs COEHP clearance?

  • All persons who are paid by UNM campus wide must be medically cleared to handle animals, their blood or tissue.

WHEN do I need medical clearance to work with animals?

  • Annually

WHERE is COEHP located?

  • COEHP is located in the Family Practice Building on the HSC Campus.

WHY do I need this?

  • Working with animals presents its own unique health and safety issues not usually found elsewhere in the University. Risks include:
    • Zoonoses such as viral and bacterial diseases, skin diseases or parasites
    • Bites
    • Animal allergies
    • Latex allergies
    • Other hazards involved in research such as radiation, infectious diseases, or chemicals.
  • Individuals working with animals must be aware of these risks and the precautions necessary to protect themselves

Have you completed all appropriate online animal care and use training through the AALAS Learning Library (ALL)? If not:

  1. You must first view the "Instructions for completing ALL training" Power Point tutorial in order to complete the correct laboratory exams.
  2. Complete all appropriate training using the AALAS LEARNING LIBRARY (ALL).

Our state-of-the-art facility enables us to provide the best possible animal care for all teaching and research programs that use animals.

Suspect improper animal use?

Anyone who has concerns about the treatment or use of animals or witnesses improper or unapproved animal care or use procedures should report their concerns. No employee, committee member, or laboratory personnel shall be discriminated against or be subject to any reprisal for reporting violations of any regulation or standards under federal regulation and University policy.

Reports can be made anonymously to the UNM Anonymous Hotline at 1-888-899-6092 or by directly reporting to the vice chancellor for research at 505-272-6950. Reports made to the attending veterinarian, IACUC chair or Office of Animal Care Compliance will be immediately reported to the vice chancellor for research who serves as the institutional official's designee.