Policy for the Use of Vertebrate Animals

Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee
May 21, 2018 5:30 pm

This policy of the University of Michigan assures the humane use and care of vertebrate animals used in research, instruction, or testing. It further guarantees that any reported concerns regarding the care and use of vertebrate animals are investigated and addressed in a timely and professional manner.

  • Purpose

    This policy of the University of Michigan (U-M) delineates the authority and oversight of the Animal Care and Use Program (ACUP) in the use of animals for the purposes of research, teaching, demonstration, and testing. The policy specifically describes: (1) the roles and responsibilities of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and the Attending Veterinarian (AV); and (2) the requirements for an IACUC protocol, the oversight of animal care and use, and the use of space for animal activities.

    The U-M’s ACUP is dedicated to the adherence to applicable laws, regulations, policies, standards, and ethical principles governing the use of animals in research, instruction, or testing, and serves the needs of scientists conducting vertebrate animal activities.

  • Applicability

    This policy applies to all vertebrate animal activities conducted under the auspices of U-M at any location, including the Ann Arbor, Flint, and Dearborn campuses, as well as any subcontract or field locations, except as identified below. In addition, it applies whether the supporting funds are internally or externally sourced, and whether separately budgeted or non-budgeted.

  • Policy

    1. Role, Responsibility and Authority of the University’s IACUC

      1. An IACUC protocol is required for the use of animals, whether alive or dead, except in cases where the below exclusions apply (unless specifically required by a funding agency):
        1. Invertebrate animals such as insects and cephalopods;
        2. Embryos (e.g. unhatched eggs, larval fish less than 7 days’ post-fertilization)[1];
        3. Tissues or samples collected from animals euthanized under an approved IACUC protocol[2];
        4. Animal tissues or parts acquired from commercial sources such as a grocery store or an United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-inspected slaughterhouse; and
        5. Established cell lines, as well as biological fluids available as standard inventory from a commercial supplier.
      2. In all cases, IACUC approval is required prior to the initiation of any involvement of animals in research, teaching, demonstration, and/or testing activities. In addition, changes to activities described in an approved protocol require an approved amendment to the protocol before new/changed activities can begin.
      3. In all cases, IACUC approval will not be granted until any additional requirements set forth by Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), Radiation Policy Committee, and/or the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) are satisfied.
      4. The IACUC has the authority to suspend or terminate the approval of previously approved animal activities.
      5. The IACUC has the authority to inspect any area where an animal is used and/or housed at any time. Areas for animal use and housing must be reviewed and approved by the IACUC prior to commissioning as an animal area.
      6. The IACUC will review and evaluate all reports of animal welfare concerns or other animal-related allegations, according to the “University of Michigan Policy on Investigating Noncompliance and Animal Welfare Concerns”. Concerns regarding the proper care and use of vertebrate animals in a University project can be reported directly to the Animal Care and Use Office (ACUO), AV, Institutional Official (IO), or IACUC Chair; or the animal concerns hotline (734-763-8028 or ACUOffice@umich.edu) or U-M Hotline (1- 866-990-0111). Anonymous reports can be submitted online at http://animalcare.umich.edu/report-animal-concerns.  
    2. Role, Responsibility and Authority of the University’s AV

      1. As part of the veterinary care program, the AV manages the health status of all U-M animals through biosecurity, quarantine, and medical surveillance programs. To effectively accomplish this task, the AV considers the health status of animals, physical plant layout and operational practices of each animal use area when identifying housing and procedure locations for individual scientists. 
      2. The AV and his/her designees have the authority, including unlimited access to all U-M animals and resources, to manage the institution’s program of veterinary care. Consequently, animal activities (e.g. housing and experimental manipulations) may only be conducted in areas that are authorized by the AV, or designee, and subsequently approved by the IACUC.
      3. Animal use areas (e.g. via the conversion of existing space or new construction) can only be added to the ACUP after consultation with the AV, or designee, and subsequent approval by the IACUC. Consultation with the AV, or designee, must occur during the planning phase before construction occurs.

    [1] Any vertebrate animal that inadvertently hatches, and for which there is no approved IACUC protocol held by the PI, becomes the property of the University of Michigan’s Unit for Laboratory and Animal Medicine (ULAM).

    [2] The use of dead animals or parts of animals is not covered by the PHS Policy unless the activity involves (1) killing animals for the purpose of obtaining or using their tissues or other materials, or (2) project-specific antemortem manipulation of animals prior to killing them. If either circumstance is applicable to the acquisition of dead animals, body parts or tissues, prior IACUC protocol review and approval are required.


For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Animal Care & Use Office at acuoffice@umich.edu or (734) 763-8028.