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Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

Policy for Use of Animals in Teaching and Research




IACUC Committee Members







Primary Enclosures
Animal Health & Husbandry



Protocol Questions
Required Assurances



HSU Guidelines



Federal regulations require that faculty, staff, and students at Humboldt State University who use live vertebrate animals in their teaching or research must conform to applicable regulations and policies that govern animal care and use on the campus. These procedures address the acquisition of animals, their transportation, use and care, efforts to minimize pain and distress, consideration of alternatives to the use of animals, and training of personnel.

The federal regulations are embodied in the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 and its various amendments. These documents are cited in Section 6 of this summary. The regulation of the Act covers dogs, cats, non-human primates, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, and wild animal species. To date, the regulations do not include laboratory rats, mice, birds, reptiles, amphibians or fish. However, U. S. District Judge Charles R. Richmond ruled recently that Congress had intended that the Animal Welfare Act would protect rats, mice and birds. He said that their exemption was "arbitrary and capricious." The United States Department of Agriculture may appeal this decision. In the interim, we will comply fully with Judge Richmond's ruling.

The President of the University is required to establish an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Its charge and composition are outlined in Section 2. One of our duties is to review proposals that involve any living vertebrate animals (not just those listed in the 1966 Act) to ensure that they meet federal regulations.

The proposal review is based upon the "Protocol for the Humane Care and Use of Live Vertebrate Animals," which is discussed in Section 5 of this handbook. Some projects will pose little or no harm to animals and these can be reviewed in less than one week. Others may require more time to duplicate and distribute and for appropriate consultation. Copies of the form itself may be obtained from the Office of the Dean of the College of Natural Resources and Sciences, who serves as Chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

The IACUC is also required to inspect all animal facilities and study areas where animals are maintained in captivity on a biannual basis. We schedule these visits with facility supervisors. Please note that these same facilities are also subject to unannounced inspections by United States Department of Agriculture. We have attempted to summarize what we and the U. S. D. A. inspectors will be examining in Section 4.

Agencies sponsoring funded research often have their own sets of regulations and policies that must be followed if HSU faculty, staff, or students are to be eligible to receive their grants. One of the most important of these documents is the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Please refer to Section 6 of this handbook for a summary of these policies, along with statements adopted by a series of professional societies.

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What are your responsibilities as someone engaged in research using live vertebrate animals? You are required to:

  1. be familiar with pertinent rules and regulations;
  2. submit a protocol for review and approval by the IACUC before proceeding with the acquisition, transportation, housing, or use of any animals;
  3. carry out research or instructional projects in a respectful manner that minimizes pain and distress to animals;
  4. maintain appropriate records; and
  5. make facilities available for both announced and unannounced inspections.

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Members of the Humboldt State University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee are appointed by the President. They are:

  • Rick Zechman, Associate Dean of the College of Natural Resources & Sciences and Chair of the IACUC
  • Richard N. Brown, HSU Veterinarian and Attending Veterinarian on the IACUC;
  • Ethan Gahtan, Assoc. Professor, Psychology;
  • Micaela Gunther, Assoc. Professor, Wildlife;
  • John O. Reiss, Professor of Zoology and Institutional Researcher
  • Joseph Szewczak, Professor, Biological Sciences;
  • Darren Ward, Assoc. Professor, Fisheries Biology;
  • Rhea Williamson, Dean of the Sponsored Programs Foundation;
  • Peggy Wilzbach, Asst Unit Leader, Coop Research Unit;
  • Gretchen Ziegler, Zoo Manager of the Sequoia Park Zoo and Community Member of the IACUC;

For inquiries concerning these policies contact the IACUC Chair, Dr. Rick Zechman at 826-3546 or rick [dot] zechman [at] humboldt [dot] edu with questions concerning the preparation and submission of this protocol.

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Humboldt State University recognizes both a scientific and an ethical responsibility for the humane care of animals. All faculty, staff, and students who care for or use animals in education, testing, and research must assume responsibility for general animal welfare. The animal accommodation facilities and programs of this campus will be operated in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local regulations and policies.

The monitoring of the care and use of animals at Humboldt State University shall be the responsibility of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Its specific functions include:

  • biannual review and evaluation of activities involving animals;
  • reviewing, and, if warranted, investigating complaints received from employees or from the public;
  • reviewing and approving proposed activities involving animals that are related to the care and use of animals and significant changes to those activities;
  • making recommendations to the President regarding any aspect of our animal program, facilities, or personnel training; and
  • performing other functions as required by institutional needs and by federal, state, and local authorities.

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The development of knowledge necessary for the improvement of the health and well-being of humans as well as other animals requires in vivo experimentation with a wide variety of animal species. Whenever U. S. Government agencies develop requirements for testing, research, or training procedures involving the use of vertebrate animals, the following principles shall be considered; and whenever these agencies actually perform or sponsor such procedures, the responsible institutional official shall ensure that the following principles are observed:

  1. The transportation, care, and use of animals should be in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. 2131 et seq.) and other applicable federal laws, guidelines, and policies.
  2. Procedures involving animals should be designed and performed with due consideration of their relevance to human or animal health, the advancement of knowledge, or the good of society.
  3. The animals selected for a procedure should be of an appropriate species and quality and the minimum number required to obtain valid results. Methods such as mathematical models, computer simulation, and in vitro biological systems should be considered.
  4. Proper use of animals, including the avoidance or minimization of discomfort, distress, and pain when consistent with sound scientific practices, is imperative. Unless the contrary is established, investigators should consider that procedures that cause pain or distress in human beings may cause pain or distress in other animals.
  5. Procedures with animals that may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress should not be performed without appropriate sedation, analgesia, or anesthesia. Surgical or other painful procedures should not be performed on non-anesthetized animals paralyzed by chemical agents.
  6. Animals that would otherwise suffer severe or chronic pain or distress that cannot be relieved should be euthanized at the end of the procedure or, if appropriate, during the procedure.
  7. The living conditions of animals should be appropriate for their species and contribute to their health and comfort. Normally, the housing, feeding, and care of all animals must be directed by, or in consultation with, the Campus veterinarian or the appropriate Facilities Supervisor who should be trained and experienced in the proper care, handling, and use of the species being maintained or studied. In any case, veterinary care shall be provided as deemed necessary by the Campus veterinarian.
  8. Investigators and other personnel shall be appropriately qualified and experienced for conducting procedures on living animals. Adequate arrangements shall be made for their in-service training, including the proper and humane care and use of laboratory animals.
  9. Where exceptions are required in relation to the provisions of these principles, the decisions should not rest with the investigators directly concerned but should be made, with due regard to Principle 2, by an appropriate group such as the IACUC. Such exceptions should not be made solely for the purposes of teaching or demonstration.

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When the inspector from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service visits the campus, he or she will be looking at the structural elements listed below. In addition, supervisors may be asked to show records relating to animal care and treatment and to show the currently approved protocol for the species being inspected. Biannual inspections by the HSU IACUC will follow the same general procedures.

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A. Structural strength
B. Water and electric power
C. Storage of food and bedding
D. Waste disposal
E. Washrooms and sinks
F. Heating and temperature
G. Ventilation
H. Lighting
I. Interior surfaces
J. Drainage
K. Shelter from sunlight
L. Shelter from rain or snow
M. Shelter from cold weather

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Primary Enclosures

A. General requirements
B. Protection from predators
C. Additional requirements
D. Space requirement

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Animal Health and Husbandry

A. Feeding
B. Watering
C. Sanitation
D. Cleaning
E. Housekeeping
F. Pest Control
G. Employees
H. Classification and Separation
I. Veterinary Care
J. Handling

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A Vehicles
B. Transport enclosures
C. Food and water
D. Care in transit

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Federal animal welfare regulations require that the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) must review and approve all activities involving the use of vertebrate animals prior to their initiation.  This includes any vertebrate animals used for the development of experimental methodologies, instructional purposes, etc. Approved protocols for ongoing and recurrent activities must be reviewed by the IACUC on an annual basis.  Compliance with animal welfare regulations is mandatory and is the responsibility of all individuals involved in teaching or research. Lastly, graduate student theses that refer to the use of live vertebrate animals can not be accepted without prior approval by the IACUC.

To avoid the proliferation of submissions, please provide generic descriptions that include multiple routes of compound administrations, minor procedural variations, etc. When multiple species are to be used, please either submit separate protocols for each species, or clearly describe all procedures, and any variation thereof, to be used with each vertebrate species.

The protocol application form, as well as the routing slip and other relevant forms, should be downloaded from the IACUC web page ( Alternatively, if internet access is limited, the form can be obtained by contacting the campus veterinarian or the Chair of the IACUC. Please submit only the most recent revision of this protocol (please download a fresh form from the web page if you are unsure of the version of protocol forms found in file cabinets or on floppy discs). Do not change the formatting of the document; please leave the questions in bold face type, separate your answers from the question by a space, and please provide your answer in regular (non-bold) type.  Please contact the IACUC Chair, Rick Zechman at 826-3546 or rick [dot] zechman [at] humboldt [dot] edu with questions concerning the preparation and submission of this protocol.

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Questions include:

1. Course Number (if applicable).

    Project Title

2. Responsible Faculty Member:  Instructor, Principal Investigator or Project Director


3. Names of others involved in animal use activity and their qualifications to perform the procedures indicated.

4. Proposed starting date (the starting date can not precede date of approval, and note that all protocols must be renewed or extended annually). The Annual Protocol Review Form must be approved on or before the anniversary of the approval date to indicate termination of the project or to request extension of the dates of approval; annual review is automatic and you no longer need to submit an end date.

All projects must have a complete review after three years, which requires a new protocol submission.

5. Scientific name, common name, and characteristics of all species to be used. List multiple species separately to explain variation in use. For field studies, please list all target species, species listed as protected, threatened, or endangered by the USFWS or the state in which the work will be conducted, and any non-target species that are likely to be impacted.

    Latin binomial
    Common name
    Age or Weight Range

6. Number of animals to be used. Explain why a smaller number would not allow you to meet your objectives (please provide clarification if based on statistical reasoning). If this is a field project, and you can not predict the exact number of animals to be sampled, please give your best estimate and an explanation of the variables that will determine your sample size. Write N/A if this protocol covers only the transportation, use, and/or storage of carcasses or tissues.

7. Source of the animals or tissues to be used. For transportation, storage, and use of tissues from carcasses, explain the circumstances of death. If this information is unknown, provide the name and contact information for the person or company from which the samples are to be obtained.

8. If live animals are to be maintained in captivity for greater than 12 hours, explain where and how the animals will be housed and who will be responsible for their daily care. If no animals will be maintained in captivity, please clearly state that to be the case. Write N/A if this protocol covers only the transportation, use, and/or storage of carcasses or tissues.

9. Provide a non-technical description of the proposed goals, general methods, and the educational or scientific objectives that the proposed use is designed to meet.

10. Provide a complete and detailed description of all procedures to be performed involving live vertebrate animals. Your response should address the restraint of non-anesthetized animals; deprivation of food or water for a period that is atypical for this species; use of chemical or biological agents; the drawing of blood; the use of anesthetics, analgesics, sedatives or tranquilizers; surgical procedures; exposure to radioactive materials, known carcinogens, or highly toxic substances; and any post-operative procedures. Write N/A if this protocol covers only the transportation, use, and/or storage of carcasses or tissues.

11. Will any of these procedures cause pain or distress (other than that necessitated by collection, injection, and otherwise mild, momentary discomforts)? If so, please explain. Write N/A if this protocol covers only the transportation, use, and/or storage of carcasses or tissues.

12. For researchers, explain how you determined that this protocol does not unnecessarily duplicate previously published observations or experiments (cite the type of literature searches as well as any other resources used). For instructors, explain the value of the lesson that merits using live animals. Write N/A if this protocol covers only the transportation, use, and/or storage of carcasses or tissues.

13. Provide alternative procedures that were considered and rejected as well as a  brief explanation of why the alternative procedures were rejected. Write N/A if this protocol covers only the transportation, use, and/or storage of carcasses or tissues.

14. Identify serious human health risks (expected exposures to disease agents, toxic chemicals used, dangerous environmental conditions, etc.) to which any participants might be exposed during the routine performance of the duties proposed herein, and describe steps taken to mitigate those risks.

15. Describe the fate of the animals upon completion of the protocol. Include the procedure for euthanasia (if chemical, include drug, route, and dosage) and the method of verification (whether necessary as an experimental termination or in the case of unanticipated, accidental injury). Note (1) that you must justify the scientific necessity for any variations from the established guidelines for euthanasia (AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2013 Edition - pdf), (2) that you must report unexpected deaths to the IACUC as soon as possible to consider options, and (3) that you may write N/A only if this protocol covers only the transportation, use, and/or storage of carcasses or tissues.

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The following assurances must be provided by the responsible faculty member:

16. I certify that the above information is accurate and complete, that I have read and agree to abide by the "Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training at HSU," that I will make copies of these principles and other pertinent guidelines available to those persons who work under my supervision, and that deviations from this protocol, including any unanticipated injuries or death of animals, will be reported to the IACUC. Further, my level of supervision will be such that these procedures will be carried out in a humane and a scientifically acceptable manner as described herein. I understand that, as the research supervisor, I take responsibility for the conduct of anyone working under this approved protocol, and I will supervise the research to ensure that no work is conducted that is not covered herein or in a separate approved protocol. I am aware that my research might require permits from federal and/or state agencies that regulate the harassment, capture, transport, captive maintenance, handling and manipulation of live vertebrate animals, and I have marked all boxes pertaining to the relevant laws (and state permits) governing the species used in my research. I certify that my research will be conducted in accordance with all relevant federal and state laws.

I am aware that the following Acts apply to my study (check all that may apply):

( ) Animal Welfare Act
( ) State of California Fish and Game Commission (Title 14) - Scientific Collecting Permit(s)
( ) Endangered Species Act
( ) Fishery Conservation and Management Act
( ) Lacey Act
( ) Marine Mammal Protection Act
( ) Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
( ) Other: please list _________________________________________________

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Animal Welfare: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. USDA. Federal Register 54(168): 36112-36163. 31 August 1989.

Animal Welfare: Animals and Animal Products. Federal Register. USDA. Parts 1 to 199. Revised as of January 1, 1990.

Animal Welfare: Guinea pigs, hamsters, and rabbits. Federal Register 55(136): 28879-28884. 16 July 1990.

Animal Welfare: Standards (amendments for the humane handling, care, treatment, and transportation of dogs and cats, and non-human primates). Federal Register 56(32):6426-6505. 15 February 1991.

Animal Welfare Information Center tips for alternatives to animal research and testing. Updated and revised Mar. 2013 at

Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH Publication No. 85-23. Revised 1985.

Improved Standards for Laboratory Animals Act. Congressional Record, December 17, 1985.

Laboratory Animal Welfare. NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts Special Edition. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 14(8). June 1985.

Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Office for Protection from Research Risks (OPRR). NIH. Revised September 1986.

Professional Society Guidelines

Acceptable field methods in mammalogy: preliminary guidelines approved by the American Society of Mammalogists Ah Hoc Committee on Acceptable Field Methods in Mammalogy. Supplement to Journal of Mammalogy 68(4). November 1987.

Field Research Guidelines. A discussion of newly promulgated guidelines on acceptable humane methods of field research and their impact on institutional Animal Care and Use Committees. Scientists Center for Animal Welfare, Bethesda, Maryland. April 1988.

Guidelines for use of Fishes in Research (2004), prepared by the American Fisheries Society 2004 at

Information Resources on Fish Welfare 1970 - 2003, AWIC Resource Series No. 20, found at

Guidelines for use of fishes in field research, prepared by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (ASIH), the American Fisheries Society (AFS), and the American Institute of Fisheries Research Biologists (AIFRB). Reprinted in Fisheries 13(2):16-23.

Guidelines for use of live amphibians and reptiles in field research, prepared by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (ASIH), The Herpetologist's League (HL), and the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR). 1987.

Report of the American Ornithologist's Union Ad Hoc Committee on the Use of Wild Birds in Research. Supplement to The Auk 105 (1, Supp): 1A-41A. 1988.

2013 Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia as published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2001, 218(5): 669-696.

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HSU Guidelines

Animal Care and Use. Executive Memorandum, P 89-6. 9 November 1989.

Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals used in Testing, Research and Training. Office of the Dean, Graduate Studies and Research. Revised 1985.

Standard Operating Procedures for the Humboldt State University Game Pens

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* much of the wording for this document has been modified from the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources (ILAR), National Research Council. Revised September, 2003

Forestry 106 • 1 Harpst St., Arcata, CA 95521 • 707.826.3256 • Contact IACUC