Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC): Federal regulations require the use of an IACUC at any institution that uses animals as per the USDA definition or has vertebrate species research supported by the PHS. The tasks of an IACUC include reviewing all protocols involving the use of animals by an employee of that institution as part of his/her official duties. The meaning of “use of animals” is not limited to usage on campus, but also includes field studies and offsite facilities.

What We Do

The IACUC is charged with the responsibility of assuring that research projects on Cal Poly Pomona's campus are in compliance with all applicable regulations. Among other things, this means the review of animal study proposals, post approval monitoring of approved protocols, oversight and review of the institutions animal care and use program and inspections of areas housing and using laboratory animals. The IACUC is composed of faculty and staff with experience in animal care and use, a veterinarian, and at least one outside member who represents community values. The committee has a face-to-face meeting at least once each semester, at which time we conduct protocol reviews, perform inspections, and carry out other business as required. However, between these meetings we will review protocols electronically as they are submitted. 

All institutions conducting research with vertebrate animals are required to comply with various regulations and policies, both federal and local. The IACUC reviews proposed use of animals against these laws;

  • The Animal Welfare Act is a law covering species used in research other than rats, mice, and birds. The campus is subject to inspections by veterinary medical officers from the United States Department of Agriculture to assure our compliance with the regulations.
  • For research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the policies of the Public Health Service (PHS) apply. More specifically, the Office for Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) of the PHS requires institutions to establish and maintain proper measures to ensure the appropriate care and use of all animals involved in research, training and biological testing activities financially supported by PHS.
  • Further, the research is evaluated against the standards established in the “Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals” which covers institutional polices, animal environment and housing, veterinary care, and the facilities.     




The Guide 

Published by The Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources (ILAR) council

The Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources (ILAR) founded in 1952 under the auspices of the National Research Council. A component of the Commission on Life Sciences, ILAR develops guidelines and disseminates information on the scientific, technological, and ethical use of animals and related biological resources in research, testing, and education. ILAR promotes high-quality, humane care of animals and the appropriate use of animals and alternatives. ILAR functions within the mission of the National Academy of Sciences as an advisor to the federal government, the biomedical research community, and the public.

How We Do It

The IACUC is administratively managed by the Office of Research Compliance. Investigators should use the IACUC Protocol Approval Application Form when proposing animal use in research to the IACUC.  Submit your application electronically to the secure IACUC protocol web site at

The Cal Poly Pomona occupational health program is designed to protect both personnel and laboratory animals.  All personnel who work or study in a laboratory animal facility (LAF) or who have substantial contact with animals or tissues (> 8 hours per week) should be familiar with this program.  This would include those involved with the direct care of or are within the living quarters of animals or have direct contact with live or dead animals, their viable tissues, body fluids, or wastes. In addition to insuring animal health and welfare, our approval process requires all investigators (faculty, staff, and students) to fill out an eRASQ (electronic Risk Assessment Safety Questionnaire) (see Protocol Application Process for more information) if there is potential exposure to infectious or toxic agents). These questionnaires are reviewed by the Environmental Health & Safety office and a University physician. It's confidential and will take only a few minutes. If you'd like a medical opinion, you may request to be seen by a medical professional by completing the HHQ. The Principal Investigator (PI) will be contacted if any problems are determined

The Cal Poly Pomona IACUC adopted the CITI (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative) on-line program to provide a consistent high-quality format for information about using animals in research and teaching.  All personnel who work or study in a laboratory animal facility (LAF) or who have substantial contact with animals should complete required modules mentioned under "Protocol Application Process."


Why We Exist

The need to have regulatory oversight for animal welfare in research laboratories was recognized in late 19th century Great Britain, and led to the Cruelty to Animals Act. Early national animal welfare legislation in the U.S. concerned the transport of farm animals, but was silent on laboratory animals. However, individual states (e.g., New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) began passage of laws to regulate laboratory animals as early as 1866. The first piece of national legislation regulating the care and use of laboratory animals was the Animal Welfare Act of 1966. In the 19th and early 20th century there were no standards for the care of laboratory animals. This responsibility lay with the laboratory director, resulting in significant differences in care between laboratories, even within the same institution. Scientists wanted to have high standards of laboratory animal welfare, however, there were no organizations dedicated to establishing standards for the care, maintenance, and breeding of laboratory animals. Inconsistency in laboratory animal care led to inconsistency in research results, as well as problems in conducting long term studies since many animals had chronic infections.

The establishment of the Animal Care Panel, which eventually became the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). AALAS provided the infrastructure needed to produce the first edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. This is the primary reference for animal care policies and guidelines in the U.S., as well as many other countries in the world. 

National standards for laboratory animal care were enacted in 1966 (The Laboratory Animal Welfare Act), with enforcement authority given to USDA. The act required research labs and dealers to be licensed and be subject to inspection. However, the current Act still excludes most rodents, birds, and farm animals used in production agriculture.

The first Public Health Service policy on laboratory animal care and use (1973) evolved from an NIH policy, and has undergone several revisions. These policies introduced the concept of periodic evaluations of the standards of care and use of laboratory animals in institutions that received PHS support. These evaluations could be carried out by an institutional committee or a recognized professional laboratory accrediting body. However, in 1979 a revision to the PHS policy required all animal using grantee institutions to have a committee to maintain oversight of its animal program. Over the ensuing years recommendations as to committee membership have become codified into the policy, with written requirements for training of investigators in animal care and use. Eventually, both the USDA and the Department of Defense instituted requirements that an animal care and use committee be established at research institutions or sponsored labs.

(From OLAW list serve 3 March 11): The NIH, USDA, and FDA have participated under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Concerning Laboratory Animal Welfare for more than two decades. Each agency, operating under its own authority, has specific responsibilities for fostering proper animal care and welfare. This agreement sets forth a framework for reciprocal cooperation intended to enhance agency effectiveness while avoiding duplication of efforts in achieving required standards for the care and use of laboratory animals. The new MOU is available at:

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee AWA A3344-01 Expiration 12/31/2023