Policies & Procedures

Animal facilties are unique areas within the University research infrastructure and therefore require specific policies to govern access and use.  These procedures are designed to protect the research animals and to provide an appropriate environment for the conduct of high quality research.

Visitor Access & Public Relations

The UAF Animal Facilities are restricted access facilities for two primary reasons: 1) to protect the animals from injury and disease; and 2) to prevent disruption of ongoing research activities. Although protection of the animals and research is of primary concern, the Office of Research Integrity and the facility managers recognize that it is important to allow some visitors into the facilities (i.e. prospective students or employees, federal agency inspectors, and funding agency representatives). The following guidelines must be followed for all animal facility visits, with the exception of the public areas of the Robert G. White Large Animal Research Station (LARS) and the Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Stations (AFES) in Fairbanks and Palmer.

All funding and government oversight agency inspectors should be directed to the Office of Research Integrity prior to being permitted to enter the animal facility. This is to ensure that they have valid credentials and so that an escort can be arranged to take them through the facility(ies) of interest. Such inspectors will be provided access in keeping with all applicable regulatory and/or award conditions.

All other visits must be approved by the animal facility manager or attending veterinarian. In the case of individual visitors this may be arranged with very little lead time by calling or emailing the facility manager (contact information) or the attending veterinarian (contact information). Group visits (i.e. for classes) must be arranged well in advance, to avoid disrupting research and animal care activities.

  • Visits to a specific animal colony and/or research room must be approved by the facility manager as well as the Principal Investigator.
  • Visitors must agree to abide by all animal facility procedures and specific conditions of the visit.
  • Visitors must be escorted by an authorized user at all times while in the facility.
  • It is the responsibility of the authorized user escorting the visitor(s) to convey all relevant health and safety information and ensure that visitors comply with all animal facility policies and any specific conditions of the visit.
  • During the visit every effort must be made to avoid disturbing research animals and settings.
  • Visitors are not permitted to handle animals
  • Use of cameras or other recording devices is not permitted in the animal facility unless approved by the Animal Resources Center Director and the Office of Research Integrity. Note: This does not apply to recordings made by a principal investigator of their own animals, equipment or procedures for use in scientific presentations or publications. It also does not apply to recordings authorized in an approved IACUC Protocol.
  • Visitors are not permitted in quarantine rooms without permission of the Attending Veterinarian and must be escorted by a member of the Veterinary Services staff.

All inquiries regarding animal facilities or animal care/welfare from the general public, members of the media, or UAF personnel should be directed to the Office of Research Integrity.

Facility Entrance & Exit Procedures

The UAF owned animal facilities, with the exception of the public areas of the Robert G. White Large Animal Research Station (LARS) and the Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Stations (AFES), are restricted access facilities. This is to ensure the health and safety of the animals and the integrity of the research being conducted within the facilities. Access to restricted areas may only be granted by the facility manager once all training and occupational health and safety requirements have been met. Continuing access is a privilege and is contingent upon adherence to all applicable policies, procedures and guidelines.

Personnel should not wear their street shoes and should either change clothes (scrubs, coveralls or a clean set of clothes kept for use in the facility) or wear protective clothing (lab coat) over their street clothes while in any animal facility. These are best practice recommendations for all facilities except in the Biological Research and Diagnostics (BiRD) building where they are required. A washing machine and drier is available in the Irving and BiRD animal facilities for laundering protective clothing. Such measures help to minimize the potential for disease transmission into or out of the animal facilities and reduces the chance of exposing people outside the animal facilities to animal allergens.

Minors in Animal Facilities

The animal housing and research areas are restricted access facilities. Minors are not allowed in a restricted access facility without authorization from Risk Management in addition to the normal authorizations required for new animal facility or research personnel (Principal Investigator, IACUC, facility manager, and Office of Research Integrity). Minors must be under the direct supervision of an authorized user at all times while in a UAF animal facility. Contact UAF Environmental Health Safety & Risk Management (x5413 or UAF-EHSRM@alaska.edu) for information related to minors on campus.

Animal Facility Space Space Requests

Space in the animal facilities is limited, so it is essential that investigators work closely with the facility manager to ensure that adequate space for housing is available prior to obtaining animals. A formal Space Request form is available on the IACUC website Forms page for the Irving I and BiRD animal facilities; to request space in other facilities contact the facility manager directly.

Final approval of any space request is contingent on having an approved IACUC protocol in place for the project.

Use of Shared Space

Although animal rooms (Irving I) or suites (BiRD) are typically assigned to a single researcher or research group, there are some areas or rooms within each animal facility that are intended for multiple users. Examples of shared space include the surgery and fume hood rooms. The following are common courtesy rules that should be practiced when using shared space:

  • Do not monopolize the room or equipment. If you need the space at a precise time, for an extended period of time, or for several consecutive days, be sure and provide notice to the other users. This may be done by posting the times on the door or by sign-up sheets.
  • Thoroughly clean the space when done so it is ready for the next user. This includes removing biohazard waste and other trash, mopping the floor, and cleaning all work surfaces.
  • Restock any shared consumables or notify the person responsible for maintaining the supply.
  • Immediately report any unsafe or malfunctioning shared equipment to the animal facility manager.
  • Do not store equipment and supplies in shared areas unless you have been assigned specific drawers, cabinets, shelves, etc. by the facility manager.

Be sure and check with the animal facility manager before adding or modifying shared equipment in a shared space.

Ordering Live Animals

All animal purchases require the approval of the animal facility manager. The University specifically prohibits the use of a procard to purchase animals; the animal facility manager is the only person exempt from this rule. When requesting the purchase of animals you must provide a valid university account (fund-org) number for the expenditure to the animal facility manager. Once the animals have been purchased, the animal facilities will bill the designated account. There is no charge mark-up or fee associated with this service; only the actual charges for the animals and shipping will be charged.

UAF personnel may not purchase animals for use in research or teaching activities from pet stores. Exceptions to this policy will only be allowed with approval from the animal facility manager and the IACUC.

Disposition of Animals

Each IACUC Protocol specifies what will happen to the animals at the conclusion of the project. Common methods of disposition include transfer to another Assurance, transfer to a Husbandry & Breeding SOP, or euthanasia. Return or release to the wild will only be allowed if it is authorized in the associated State/Federal permit(s). UAF does not typically allow transfer of animals used for research or teaching activities to private individuals or businesses, but will consider it with sufficient justification by the PI.

Disposal of Tissues & Carcasses

All carcasses and waste tissues from animals in UAF Animal Facilities MUST be incinerated. To arrange for incineration or to drop off materials to be incinerated contact the Biological Research and Diagnostics (BiRD) Facility Supervisor, Jason Jack, at jbjack@alaska.edu or 474-6342.

Incineration may also be used to dispose of some laboratory biohazardous waste. Call the UAF Hazardous Materials (x5617) to arrange for pick-up of laboratory waste containing biohazards.