Policy Number: 2005-029-v
Policy Title: Oversight of Animal Care Performed by Research Staff

Purpose: For scientific reasons, researchers or investigative staff must sometime assume full or partial responsibility for animal husbandry activities inside of vivarium space. For example, animals may be on a special diet, a regulated watering schedule, an extended cage-cleaning cycle, or animals may require specialized husbandry because of protocol-driven biosafety reasons. UW-Madison must assure that all personnel who provide care for animals are appropriately trained and that animal care activity is sufficiently documented.

POLICY: Animal care provided by research staffs within dedicated vivarium space must be justified in an animal-use protocol and be approved by the Animal Care and Use Committee. Research staff must receive training by professional animal care staffs to properly care for animals to meet the following standards, and this training must be documented:

  1. Research staffs that perform any type of husbandry procedures, standard or otherwise, must document them in the same manner as professional animal care staffs. Documentation must include, but not be limited to:
    1. Description of task
    2. Time and date performed
    3. Initialing of completed activity by individual performing the task
  2. Documentation of husbandry tasks must be kept in animal housing room(s), e.g., on the door of the room, and be readily accessible to animal care staffs.
  3. Emergency contact numbers for reaching laboratory personnel must be available to animal- and veterinary-care personnel, including contact information for nonbusiness hours.
  4. Animal care staffs must check animal records or log sheets daily to confirm that required animal care tasks performed by laboratory staffs are complete; animal care staff member(s) must document this oversight activity, for example by dating and initialing the records sheet.
  5. It is the responsibility of the animal care staff to contact research staff if critical animal care duties (e.g., feeding, watering) that have been assumed by the research staff have not been performed or documented. Research staff must respond within four (4) hours.
    1. Animal care staff must document each and every attempt to contact research staff.
    2. If there is no response from investigative staff within four (4) hours, animal care staff must contact the veterinary staff and report the nonresponse. The veterinary staff will determine the course of action.
    3. If there is no response from investigative staff within 24 hours, animal care staff must provide water and food to the animals.
  6. Husbandry procedures that differ from standard husbandry practices must be described in detail in an approved animal use protocol. Such procedures could include, but are not limited to:
    1. Restricted feeding
    2. Regulated watering
    3. Provision of special diets (e.g., powdered diet, agar diet)
    4. Specialized environmental enrichment

Author: J. Welter
ePublication Date: 04/08/2005
History amended 2012-10-12