Regulation of Custom Animal Production

Most animals used in research are ordered from a catalog of already available strains from University-approved vendors.  The purchase of these animals requires an IACUC-approved protocol onto which the animals are placed upon receipt and orders for such animals must be processed through the DLAR Anorder system.  However, if you make a contractual arrangement for a company to construct a unique gene-modified or surgically manipulated animal, specifically for your federally-funded research (i.e., the animal would not have been generated without your order and the animal is made to your specifications), then you must obtain IACUC approval for this unique animal production prior to initiation of the project.

In order for University funds to be used for the construction of unique animals, the stipulations of the following policy must be met. See SOP, Accepting IACUC Reviews. This policy articulates what is required for the University of Pittsburgh's IACUC to accept the the company's IACUC protocol approval for the project.  The company must have a PHS letter of assurance and be AAALAC-accredited in order for the University's IACUC to accept the review of the protocol by the company's IACUC.  A PHS assurance is required under federal rules for custom animal production that will be paid for with funds from a federal grant.  The requirement for AAALAC accreditation is to ensure that the animal husbandry, veterinary medical care and welfare are maintained at the standards set by our University.  

To ensure that the requirements of this policy are met, the University of Pittsburgh IACUC requires that you notify the IACUC Office (email: iacuc@pitt.edu) prior to using a company for custom animal production.  The IACUC will verify that the company has a current, valid PHS Animal Welfare Assurance and is AAALAC-accredited.  If these conditions are met, the IACUC will issue a letter granting permission to use the company for your order.  You must then provide a copy of the company’s IACUC approval and a copy of either the company’s IACUC protocol or a statement of work to the University’s IACUC before animal work commences.  

A listing of all organizations with a PHS Animal Welfare Assurance is available at the following web site: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/olaw/assurance/300index.htm.  Note that some companies are subsidiaries of a larger organization that has filed an Animal Welfare Assurance for all of its components.  If the company you would like to use for your custom animal production is not listed on the web site indicated above, it is recommended that you contact the company to ascertain whether its animal welfare assurance is filed through a different business name.  You must also have a University IACUC-approved protocol in place prior to shipment of the custom animals to the University.

Please note that you are prohibited from using NIH funds to pay for custom animal production by a company that has not filed an animal welfare assurance with PHS.

This message was sent as an email announcement on April 12, 2011.