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:

  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 Official(s) (IO).
  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 for, 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 for, 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 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.

Reporting Animal Concerns

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. Reports can be made anonymously to the UNM Anonymous Hotline or by directly reporting to the Vice Chancellor for Research. Reports made to the AV, IACUC Chair or OACC will be immediately reported to the Vice Chancellor for Research who serves as the Institutional Official. No employee, Committee member, or laboratory personnel shall be discriminated against or be subject to any reprisal for good faith reporting violations of any regulation or standards under federal regulation and University Policy.

UNM Anonymous Hotline: 1-888-899-6092 (open 24/7)
Vice Chancellor for Research Health Sciences Center: 505-272-6950

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 review and decision. If warranted, the IACUC may suspend animal research activities or make recommendations for disciplinary action to the appropriate UNM authority.

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!