University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Presidential Orders


Executive Order


No. 53



Animal Use



1.  Purpose

The University of Washington assumes responsibility for the humane treatment of vertebrate animals used in research, teaching, and other activities. The institution is guided by laws, regulations, and policies set forth by the federal government and accreditation bodies. University units involved in the use of vertebrate animals shall comply.

2.  Definitions

AAALAC: AAALAC, International (an independent accrediting organization)

AV: Attending Veterinarian

DCM: Department of Comparative Medicine

IACUC: Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

IO: Institutional Official

OAW: Office of Animal Welfare

PHS: US Public Health Service

USDA: US Department of Agriculture

WaNPRC: Washington National Primate Research Center

3.  The Institutional Official

The Institutional Official is the individual in the organization having the administrative and operational authority to commit institutional resources to ensure that the animal care and use program complies with requirements of the Animal Welfare Act and PHS policy.

4.  The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

To assist in compliance and to assure the humane treatment of vertebrate animals, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), appointed by the Institutional Official, is to assist faculty, students, and staff in upholding UWs commitment to providing the humane care and use of laboratory vertebrate animals. The IACUC will:

  • Review and approve all proposals to use vertebrate animals in teaching, testing, or research;

  • Ensure that all individuals working with vertebrate animals are properly trained;

  • Periodically inspect the vertebrate animal facilities of the University;

  • Review concerns involving the vertebrate animal care program; and

  • Report to the Institutional Official on a semiannual basis.

5.  Attending Veterinarian

The Attending Veterinarian (AV) is charged to establish and maintain a program of appropriate veterinary care. The AV or his/her designee has final authority regarding the health and welfare of the animals at the University, the necessity for and components of treatments administered, and the necessity for euthanasia. Regulations require consultation with the AV or designee regarding the design of all studies involving more than momentary or slight pain or distress.

6.  Accreditation

The University animal use program is PHS assured and USDA registered. In addition, the University is committed to continuing AAALAC accreditation for the entire campus and program. AAALAC International is the voluntary, nongovernmental organization for accreditation of laboratory animal care facilities and programs. The standards by which PHS, USDA, and AAALAC judge animal programs constitute the primary set of guidelines for animal care and use at the University.

7.  Obtaining Animals

All vertebrate animals used in teaching, testing or research must be procured through appropriate mechanisms—nonhuman primates through WaNPRC, and all other species through DCM—irrespective of use, funding source, or school/college involved. The IACUC may approve exceptions, such as for wildlife studies.

8.  Animal Facilities

All animal facilities (terrestrial and aquatic) must be approved by the AV and the IACUC prior to their use. All facilities are regularly inspected to ensure compliance with regulations, adequate veterinary care, and the humane care of animals. The WaNPRC and DCM are responsible for all animal facilities maintaining terrestrial species; the IACUC may approve exceptions.

9.  Hazardous Agents and Conditions

Occupational health and safety must be ensured. Animal work involving potentially hazardous conditions or the use of hazardous agents on animals must comply with the requirements of the applicable University oversight entities, such as the Environmental Health & Safety Department, the Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee, and the Institutional Biosafety Committee.

10.  Animal Care Concerns

Any University staff or member of the public who becomes aware of what he or she believes to be an abuse of animals used in a University teaching or research program has a responsibility and right to notify the IACUC and have the concern/complaint investigated. An individual reporting a suspected animal welfare concern need not identify him/herself to make a report. The IACUC and/or the AV will investigate reported concerns.

11.  Responsible Office and Additional Information

The Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) is tasked with supporting the Institutional Official, the IACUC, the AV, and the University community in ensuring the humane treatment of animals and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

12.  History

December 4, 1975; October 6, 2000; [combined with former APS 12.4] August 6, 2019.


For related information, see:

  • Executive Order No. 8, "Classified, Proprietary, and Restricted Research"
  • Executive Order No. 26, "Internal Support of Graduate Study and Research"
  • Executive Order No. 34, "Grant and Contract Support of University Activities"