At CU Boulder, experiments and instruction involving animal use are based on three major principles:
In addition, CU Boulder reaffirms its commitment to abide by established federal standards of humane animal care. For further details, please see our Policy Statement page.
CU Boulder's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) assists the Attending Veterinarian in overseeing the University's animal program, facilities and procedures. The IACUC's primary functions are to:
The committee reviews animal use protocols for research and teaching projects and helps plan animal facility projects. IACUC is authorized to suspend any activity involving animals if such activity is deemed inappropriate, inhumane or not in accord with the approved protocol.
The committee consists of faculty, staff, administration and the local community. By Public Health Service regulation, IACUC must include at least: the attending veterinarian, a practicing scientist experienced in animal research, a non-scientist, and a member not affiliated with the University.
CU Boulder complies with all applicable laws and regulations related to use of animals in research, including the Animal Welfare Act and the Endangered Species Act, among others. Compliance is verified through review of submitted animal protocols, inspections of facilities and research projects and through formal investigations by the IACUC. Please see our Regulations and Policies page to see other documentation and guidelines related to animal care and use that CU Boulder follows.
Animal research has played a crucial role in the advancement of scientific knowledge in modern society. For example, almost every major medical advance of the past century (including veterinary medicine) depended on the use of animals in research.
Some biomedical advances made possible by animal research include:
In addition, research on animals has contributed significantly to saving some endangered animals from extinction.
NOTE: Your individual lab should train you further on lab-specific procedures, and update your training documentation as that happens.
Everyone who directly handles, uses, cares for, or holds an active protocol involving vertebrate animals at the University of Colorado Boulder. This includes Principal Investigators, postdocs, PhD candidates, undergraduates, work study students, volunteers, and animal facility staff that work with live vertebrate animals.
Ask your supervisor in the lab to submit a personnel addendum adding you to an existing animal protocol or multiple protocols. Note: At this point your supervisor should also attach your training documentation to the addendum before submitting. You are not approved to work with animals until your PI or lab manager receives approval from the IACUC.
Three years. You should write the animal use application to include all work and all animals requested for three years. You are required to submit an interim renewal at year two and rewrite the protocol application every third year.
We have a special “Notice of in vitro use of blood, fluid or tissue for research or teaching” Form, which you can fill out and submit to the EH&S (Environmental Health & Safety). If, for example, a laboratory you know of uses the brain of an animal for their research, and you can use the heart after the animal has been euthanized humanely, then this tissue form would facilitate the sharing of this tissue between labs. This promotes the strategy of Reduction involved in quality animal research because the second lab didn’t need to euthanize an entire new set of animals to obtain the heart tissue; they were able to make use of tissue from animals that were already planned for euthanasia. It reduces the number of animals necessary to facilitate the research for both parties.
Take required IACUC & OCC Health trainings and have your PI add you to an approved protocol. Upon completing these preliminary steps, you may submit a Facility Access application with the OAR. The OAR will contact you to arrange an orientation at the facility.
An unanticipated event form should be filled out and submitted to the IACUC if there is ever a situation of an unexpected outcome in research, or an event that adversely affects the health or wellbeing of non-human vertebrate animals used in research or teaching.
The unanticipated event form must be reported within 72 hours of the incident.
For immediate medical care for animals, contact the CU Boulder Veterinarian at UCB.Veterinarian@colorado.edu.
We have several resources on this website that are helpful tools on these topics.
The IACUC Office can answer your questions regarding forms, deadlines, specific protocol questions, animal tracking, training documentation, or direct you to the appropriate party.
Contact the UCB Veterinarian for questions related to animal health, veterinary care, procedures, or animal health concerns: UCB Veterinarian.
Contact the IACUC Director or the IACUC Chair for any other questions.
Since a primary function of the IACUC is to ensure the humane treatment of animals, any suspected mistreatment should be reported immediately to either the University Veterinarian, IACUC Director or the Chair of the IACUC (see Contact Us). All reports will be held in strict confidence and addressed immediately. If you report a concern anonymously we will not be able to respond to you with the outcome, but understand that every concern raised is addressed by the IACUC.
Read about CU Boulder's Guidelines and Procedures for Responding to Allegations of Research Misconduct. Section IV, D pertinent to reporting animal welfare concerns.
If your research or teaching project involves the use, manipulation, breeding, or care of vertebrate animals and their embryos, you must seek IACUC review. Do this by filling out a protocol application well in advance of your desired project start date. We recommend two or three months in advance for researchers that are new to animal research work.
Here is the guidance directly from the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, a branch of NIH: “If the activity alters or influences the activities of the animal(s) that are being studied, the activity must be reviewed and approved by the IACUC (e.g., capture and release, banding). If the activity does not alter or influence the activity of the animal(s), IACUC review and approval is not required (observational, photographs, collection of feces).” In addition: “Studies with the potential to impact the health or safety of personnel or the animal’s environment may need IACUC oversight, even if described as purely observational or behavioral.” Please contact the IACUC Director with questions, or to check that your protocol must be IACUC-reviewed.
Go to our Protocol Submission page, and look at the directions for submitting a new or renewal protocol. Usually, once a Principle Investigator has received a grant score that will probably get funded, that is the appropriate time to submit an animal use protocol. The protocol review process can take one, two, sometimes three months to complete, so it is good to get your protocol application in early. See the guidance on our webpage here for tips and helpful resources for putting together your protocol application. Prior to submitting your protocol to the IACUC, your protocol should go through a pre-review process with your departmental representative from the IACUC, and sometimes the UCB Veterinarian as well. After the pre-review, the protocol must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the next IACUC meeting. Email your protocol application to email@example.com. See our FAQ “What are the IACUC meeting dates and submission deadlines for protocols?” (above) for the submissions deadlines.
Submit a Three Year Update form for your protocol. You can submit this anytime during the three year life of your animal use protocol if you have completed your research or did not receive funding, or you can submit it at the end of the three year lifespan of your protocol. Indicate that your research is no longer active, and let us know the status of your laboratory animals.
Generally, animals at all live stages after birth are counted as individuals. Exceptions are smaller-sized community species such as medaka or zebrafish where the number of adults may be estimated based upon tank size and density.
Animals are counted and deducted from the approved protocol at the point of first use.