of literature related to animal science and use of animals is constantly evolving, requiring Programs to remain current with the information and best practices.
An effective Program requires clearly defined roles that align responsibility with regulatory and management authority. US federal law creates a statutory basis for the institutional official (IO), the attending veterinarian (AV), and the institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC). The Guide endorses these concepts as important operating principles for all US and non-US animal care and use programs. Effective leadership in and collaboration among these three components, which not only oversee but also support animal users, are necessary (Lowman 2008; Van Sluyters 2008). In addition, interactions with regulatory and funding agencies and accreditation organizations are an integral part of the Program.
As summarized here and discussed throughout the Guide, the primary oversight responsibilities in the Program rest with the IO, the AV, and the IACUC. Their roles fit in a defined organizational structure where the reporting relationships, authorities, and responsibilities of each are clearly defined and transparent. Together they establish policies and procedures, ensure regulatory compliance, monitor Program performance, and support high-quality science and humane animal use. A Program that includes these elements and establishes a balance among them has the best chance of efficiently using resources while attaining the highest standards of animal wellbeing and scientific quality (Bayne and Garnett 2008; Van Sluyters 2008).
The institutional official (IO) bears ultimate responsibility for the Program, although overall Program direction should be a shared responsibility among the IO, AV, and IACUC. The IO has the authority to allocate the resources needed to ensure the Program’s overall effectiveness. Program needs should be clearly and regularly communicated to the IO by the AV, the IACUC, and others associated with the Program (e.g., facilities management staff, occupational health and safety personnel, scientists). As a
Institutional official: The individual who, as a representative of senior administration, bears ultimate responsibility for the Program and is responsible for resource planning and ensuring alignment of Program goals with the institution’s mission.