Office of Animal Care Use and Welfare (OACUW)

The following provides an overview of the federal mandate and functioning of the Office of Animal Care Use and Welfare (OACUW):

Why an IACUC?

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA), Animal Welfare Act Regulations (AWAR), and the Public Health Search Health Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHSP) require all institutions using vertebrate animals for biomedical research, training, or teaching to establish an IACUC. The IACUC is a self-regulating body responsible for overseeing all aspects of institutional animal care and use. The mandate of the IACUC is to ensure that all activities involving the use of vertebrate animals are conducted ethically, humanely, and in accordance with federal regulations and the guidelines contained in the National Research Council Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

Commitment of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

ISMMS, our IACUC, and our research faculty are fully committed to maintaining the highest standards of ethical and humane use of experimental animals. The highly trained Veterinarians of our Center for Comparative Medicine and Surgery (CCMS) contribute crucially to these objectives by providing advice to researchers about the most effective ways to ensure animal welfare and wellbeing during the course of a biomedical study. The CCMS staff is fully dedicated to providing state-of-the-art veterinary care, veterinary surveillance, disease prevention of animal colonies, species-specific housing, environmental enrichment, and husbandry practices.

Composition of the IACUC

As required by federal regulations, IACUC members are appointed by the institution’s CEO or by an institution official appointed by the CEO. The ISMMS IACUC must include a chair, a veterinarian responsible for overseeing the animal care and use program, scientists experienced in laboratory animal procedures, a non-scientist (e.g., ethicist), and a lay member with no affiliation to the institution. The lay member’s responsibility is to represent the general community interest in the proper and humane care and use of animals. Our IACUC membership exceeds all regulatory requirements.

IACUC Approval Requirement for The Use of Vertebrate Animals

Any activity involving of the use of live vertebrate animals in biomedical research, training, or teaching cannot commence without IACUC approval. In order to secure approval for such activities, applicants must submit an IACUC application describing the following:

  • Value of the animal research to human or animal health
  • Design of the study
  • Rationale and justification for using animals
  • Choice of species
  • Alternatives to the use of animals
  • Animal care procedures
  • How the welfare and well-being of the animals is going to be ensured during the course of the study

Reporting Concerns

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai encourages members of the general public or institutional personnel with concerns regarding the care and use of laboratory animals to report such concerns to institutional officials. These concerns can be reported confidentially and/or anonymously, without fear of reprisal via the Compliance Office Hotline at 1-800-853-9212.