Published: July 14, 2021

The animal care and use program at CU Boulder earned major recognition from a leading industry group this summer.

The Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC) granted CU Boulder its second accreditation from the group in early July. The designation signifies a high benchmark in animal care and use in research.

“We care deeply about the care and outcomes for animals used in research,” said Jon Reuter, assistant vice chancellor of research, integrity and compliance. “This accreditation is another point of accountability that we are dedicated to best practices that result in meaningful research with worldwide impacts.”

CU Boulder researchers working with animals have made strides toward possible treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, autism, depression and other psychiatric diagnoses in recent years.

“AAALAC endorses the use of animals to advance medicine and science when there are no non-animal alternatives, and when it is done in an ethical and humane way,” the group’s website explains. 

AAALAC officials toured CU Boulder facilities earlier this year to ensure the research animal program abided by and exceeded standards of animal care in research.

CU Boulder’s animal care and use program was recognized for outstanding veterinary and husbandry care, excellent Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) oversight, a strong occupational health and safety program, and a high level of collegiality between Office of Animal Resources staff, the IACUC, environmental health and safety and laboratory staff.

“Meeting these international standards is incredibly important for ensuring the integrity of research. We are grateful to partners like AAALAC who share our desire to perform the best science possible,” said Sara Hashway, director of the Office of Animal Resources.

CU Boulder joins organizations such as St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Johns Hopkins University and the Mayo Clinic in receiving AAALAC accreditation.

AAALAC International first accredited CU Boulder in 2018.

In addition to AAALAC accreditation, all CU Boulder animal research programs are in compliance with laws and industry best practices, including the federal Animal Welfare Act and Regulations, enforced by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animal Used in Testing, Research, and Training; The Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, enforced by the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare; and the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.