Responsibility for the humane and responsible care and use of laboratory animals at Caltech is shared among all involved personnel, including faculty, staff and students. Institutional responsibility for compliance with animal welfare regulations and policies has been delegated to the Director of Institutional Research (Institutional Official).
The Attending Veterinarian is responsible for ensuring that proper animal husbandry and veterinary medical care is provided to all Institute animals. For example, the Attending Veterinarian must assure to the federal government that appropriate analgesic and anesthetic agents are being used as part of the experimental protocol (except when withholding such agents has been explicitly approved by the IACUC).
Individual investigators who use animals in their teaching or research (including those whose research consists of field work involving animals) are responsible, by law, for conforming to the basic regulations and policies governing animal use on the Caltech campus. These regulations and policies cover: (a) the acquisition, care and use of animals, (b) efforts to minimize animal pain and distress, (c) the training of personnel using animals, and (d) consideration of alternatives to animal use.
As mandated by federal law, the IACUC performs initial and continuing review of all research projects and activities that involve the use of vertebrate animals or of tissues directly obtained from vertebrate animals. The Committee is particularly concerned with procedures for the care, housing, use and treatment of such animals.
Committee reviews are conducted in a manner so as to ensure the exercise of independent judgment of the members. Members are excluded from judgment on projects or activities in which they have an active role or a conflict of interest.
Committee activities include:
- Review, at least once every six months, the Institution's program for humane care and use of animals, using the AWA and the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (the "Guide") as a basis for evaluation;
- Inspect, at least once every six months, all of the Institution's animal facilities (including satellite facilities) using the AWA and the Guide as a basis for evaluation;
- Prepare reports of the IACUC evaluations as set forth in the AWA and the PHS Policy, and submit the reports to the Institutional Official;
- Review concerns involving the care and use of animals at the Institution;
- Make written recommendations to the Institutional Official regarding any aspect of the Institution's animal program, facilities or personnel training;
- Review and approve, require modifications in (to secure approval) or withhold approval of those activities related to the care and use of animals as set forth in the AWA and the PHS Policy;
- Investigate allegations of non-compliance with the AWA and PHS Policy at Caltech; and
- Suspend an activity involving animals as set forth in the AWA or PHS Policy.