Retrospective: 2015 IACUC Poster Abstracts

To encourage animal care and use professionals in the PRIM&R community to submit a poster abstract for our upcoming 2016 IACUC Conference, we’ve created a retrospective of the poster abstracts selected for the 2015 IACUC conference. Read on to be inspired to submit your own work. Learn more about the 2016 IACUC Conference Poster Presentation Program

Development of a Novel Collaborative China Animal Ethics Committee
Sherry Vaughn DVM; Yibo Kong

China is an important emerging market for Zoetis, especially for swine and poultry biologicals. This often necessitates running animal studies at third party facilities, in order for to fulfill the rigorous evaluation required for product registration. The Zoetis Corporate Policy states, “Zoetis accepts its responsibility for conducting animal research in a humane and ethical manner and expects all employees to treat animals with respect. We approach all research involving animals with a high level of humane and ethical concern for those animals. All experiments are carefully planned and conducted in such a way as to minimize or avoid pain, distress, or discomfort to the animals. Every proposed use of animals in our research is thoroughly evaluated before being undertaken and the health and well-being of all animals under our care is a primary concern. Similarly, we expect any third party research organization we engage to conduct animal based research on our behalf to adhere to this Policy and to comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Concerns: Not all of the facilities where we needed to place animal studies had their own Animal Ethics committees.  How would we ensure that rigorous protocol review occurred, as well as oversight for the animal care and use programs?

Details will be shared on the formation of a Zoetis led, collaborative China Ethics committee with membership from 4 companies and institutes. How is confidentiality maintained? What animal care and use Standards are used? How is training delivered? How are differences in veterinary and animal care addressed? How are communication barriers overcome?

Establishing an Agricultural Animal Care and Use Committee: All Hands on Deck!
Kristen M. Brennan, PhD; Ryan Samuel, PhD; Jeannine Osborn, CPIA; Matthew Simpson; Kenneth Dickey, DVM; Kate Jacques, PhD
Alltech Inc.

Founded in 1980 by Dr. Pearse Lyons and headquartered in Nicholasville, KY, Alltech improves the health and performance of people, animals and plants through natural nutrition and scientific innovation. In early 2010, Alltech’s risk oversight committee recognized the need for an internal review of animal care and use and in response, an institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) was formed. Establishment of a new IACUC posed several challenges including: training of committee members with no prior IACUC experience, encouraging compliance with newly introduced animal care requirements and training of all animal care personnel. Additionally, the IACUC faced the immediate challenged of needing to function upon formation.

In order to face these challenges, the IACUC took the following approaches: 1. All animal care staff were briefed prior to the establishment of the IACUC so that they would be informed of what was happening, what would be expected of them and how this would affect day to day functions. All staff were given a chance to ask questions and voice concerns to the IO and the elected IACUC chairperson. 2. Local institutional veterinarians, IACUC administrators and members were consulted in the establishment of the IACUC. Local agricultural research facilities and local universities were visited by IACUC members. 3. Veterinarians and IACUC members with experience in working with agricultural animals and wildlife were consulted on the unique challenges associated with farm animals, aquaculture and bison. 4. Appointed members of the IACUC, including the community members, were given full support by the Director of Research and the IO to attend AALAS, IACUC and PRIM&R meetings for education and training. 5. Animal care staff, researchers and technicians completed training on working with the IACUC and essentials of animal care and use. Individual technical procedure training was also provided by the IACUC. 6. Staff were kept motivated through constant communication, ongoing training and monetary rewards (employee bonuses) for compliance. The IACUC chair and IO make regular visits to the research farm to talk to animal care staff and see the facilities. 7. The IACUC established a pattern of regular meetings and the IACUC chair communicates regularly with the IO and attending veterinarian. 8. The IACUC encouraged and received support from Security, Safety and Maintenance while preparing our Program Description and these departments were integral during our AAALAC site visit. 9. Departmental “town hall meetings” were used to inform the research and animal care staff of current IACUC topics and to give personnel the opportunity to ask questions or inform the IACUC of any concerns.

Evaluation of Electronic Database Solutions for IACUC Operations
Sally Thompson-Iritani; Elliott Walker; Virginia Thomas; Laury Istvan
University of Washington

As a large institution we have been struggling with a paper process for IACUC functions.   Our process has been cumbersome and we were having a hard time keeping track of documents and finding storage for paper protocols.  We also realized that there are better solutions available that are more efficient and will ultimately decrease the burden on the investigators, the IACUC members and the administrative support office to the IACUC.

A thorough analysis of our current processes was performed along with a stakeholders map to see who our decisions would impact. An in depth review of requirements was formulated and we came up with 3 possible solutions: 1) home grown system, 2) consortium system with partner institutions, or 3) vendor solution. We are still in the process of reviewing our solutions and deciding which one we will be proceeding with. We have reached out to several institutions and interviewed them about their experience with different systems and are evaluating the pros and cons of each solution. Lessons learned from our analysis can easily be extrapolated and applied to other institutions that may be conducting similar processes at this time. We anticipate that we will have chosen a system by the time of the conference.

From AAALAC Trends to a Complete Occupational Health and Safety Program
Elizabeth Rivera, DVM; Idia V. Rodriguez, DVM; Frances Candelas, BS, BVT
University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus

Like most universities, we were using the famous single page document as the OH&S program evidence.  Also, after an AAALAC site visit, they reminded us the program in place did not sufficiently meet the requirements outlined in the 8th edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.  To be a risk to the health and well-being of the animals and researchers we had to make some improvements.  We do not have the alternative or the time to make a state of the art system.  At the moment we need to use a primarily paper format system.

In brief: After AAALAC site visit we were against the clock to improve our program in less than two months. The challenge: to include PIs and their staff in an OH&S Program that, at the moment, only included husbandry personnel, the IACUC, and some PIs.  We had to sit down and broaden our Policy and the way documentation was gathered. Outcomes: A broader and more complete medical questionnaire; a waiver for visitor, contractors, and minors visiting animal facilities; integration and communication between related but separated offices dealing with Occupational Health and Security to propitiate a compliance culture.  Future challenges: develop a home system; grants for improving that home system or grants to buy or collaboration to acquire a “TTU like well-developed and comprehensive occupational safety program.”

Implementing an Animal Welfare Quality Monitoring Program for Third Parties
Toni Albanese, Bristol-Myers Squibb;
Kimberly Frazier, MS, Zoetis;
Sherry Vaughn, DVM, Zoetis

Sponsor companies are affected by the level of animal welfare compliance present at the third party organizations who conduct animal research or testing on their behalf, vendors who provide animals for research or testing, and transportation companies who move animals used in research and testing. Implementation of an animal welfare compliance monitoring program for third parties will allow sponsor companies to assess third parties that they plan to engage to conduct work on their behalf. This assessment will help to identify potential animal welfare issues that the sponsor company could encounter with a selected third party.

This poster will discuss the development and implementation of an animal welfare quality monitoring program of third parties. Topics covered will include the drivers behind the monitoring program, assessment of risk at third parties, and animal welfare audits of third parties. Procedures, tools, and documentation used to support the monitoring program will be discussed. Outcomes resulting from implementation of an animal welfare quality monitoring program will also be shared.

Animal Welfare is not only essential for the quality of the lives of the laboratory animals we use for our research but also for the quality of our medicines that we produce for our human and animal patients throughout the world. The topic of Animal Welfare has reached the forefront of public perception due to increased scrutiny of using animals for research. Sponsor companies often times engage the use of third parties (for research, testing, transportation, or supplying animals). It is imperative to assess the level of animal welfare compliance at these third parties to ensure that the work they do fulfills sponsor expectations and legal requirements. Often IACUCs (or other ethical committees) are involved with assessing these third parties.