Policies & Guidelines

Professional Society Guidelines

The following guidelines have been adopted in whole or in part by the UAF IACUC and form the standards by which the committee evaluates specific aspects of IACUC applications for the care and use of live vertebrates. These guidelines are essentially IACUC policy and any deviation from their recommendations must be justified in the IACUC application; justification must be fact-based and supported by the scientific literature or pilot study findings.

Most professional organizations or societies and publishers have issued some sort of statement or guidelines concerning the ethical care and use of laboratory animals - be sure to check out those in your field and bring them to our attention.


2013 AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia (pdf file). These guidelines issued by the American Veterinary Medical Association in June 2007 replace the 2000 Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia. UAF researchers are required to comply with the current AVMA guidelines or to justify the use of alternative practices in their IACUC assurances.

Guidelines for Euthanasia of Nondomestic Animals. These guidelines were published in 2006 by the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV) and specifically address issues pertaining to field applications involving wildlife. A hard copy is available in the Office of Research Integrity (212 West Ridge Research Building) or may be purchased for $75 on the AAZV website. The UAF IACUC will use the AAZV guidelines as a standard for animal species not covered by the AVMA guidelines.

Laboratory Animals (including captive wildlife)

Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals: This is an excellent resource (and required reading) for researchers working with conventional lab animals. Our Animal Care Program is required to utilize this Guide for program review and facility inspection. Since much of our work at UAF is with captive wildlife we augment the Guide with a large number of additional references, journal articles, and a basic understanding of the species to be housed.

Guide for the Care and Use of Mammals in Neuroscience and Behavioral Research (2003). National Research Council. National Academies Press.

Agricultural Research

Although left out of most federal regulations, animals used in agricultural research are not completely ignored. IACUC facility inspection of agricultural research sites is approached from a slightly different perspective than other research facilities. This is founded in the perceived differences between conventional biomedical/biological research and agricultural research. However, the boundary is not well defined. Animals used in agricultural research are not covered under the Animal Welfare Act or Public Health Service Policy. Nevertheless, it is generally accepted that IACUCs should inspect facilities and review experimental and teaching protocols. At present, the available resources for an IACUC include:

Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Research and Teaching, Third Edition. January 2010. Federation of Animal Science Societies. 177pp. (Free pdf  download or hard copy purchase is available on the FASS website)

The Well-Being of Agricultural Animals in Biomedical and Agricultural Research. 2007(rev). Proceeding from a SCAW-sponsored conference, Agricultural Animals in Research, held September 6-7, 1990, Washington, D.C. 112pp. (available for purchase at http://www.scaw.com/).

We expect UAF staff, faculty and personnel engaged in agricultural research to be familiar with these documents. Based on these documents, the housing and care for farm animals on an Agricultural Research Facility should meet the standards that prevail on a high quality, well-managed farm. With this in mind, the UAF IACUC expects to see a well maintained facility, good record keeping, a well designed preventive medicine program, and above all, excellent performance of the livestock. This IACUC relies heavily on performance standards. Poor-doing animals and high morbidity/mortality rates may indicate substandard care or inadequate facilities. Maintaining animal health and well being requires cooperation between the researchers, the farm staff, the UAF Physical Plant, and the UAF IACUC.

Field Research

Prior to 1986, Public Health Service (PHS) Policy governing humane animal experimentation dealt primarily with care and maintenance of experimental animals. In 1986 PHS Policy was extended to include experimental procedures such as administration of anesthesia, euthanasia procedures, and the experimental techniques used. The new national policies also charged Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs) with the oversight of experimental procedures to ensure that animal pain and distress is minimized.

The National Science Foundation (NSF), a major funding agency for ecological field studies, requires NSF funded investigators to comply with PHS Policy. Prior to 1986, this had little impact on investigators conducting field research. However, even though the strengthened Policy requirements were focused on laboratory animals the changes affected studies involving free-living wild animals. NSF continued to require compliance of its grantees with PHS Policy and, for the first time, field research was subject to review by IACUCs.

As soon as the PHS revised policy came into effect, NSF program officers suggested that the appropriate professional societies formulate field research guidelines to assist researchers and IACUCs. Four guidelines were produced and published in 1987. The guidelines have subsequently undergone major revision; current versions are available via the following links:

These four guidelines are the primary references used by the University of Alaska Fairbanks IACUC to evaluate field protocols. Given the generalities within the guidelines we also utilize basic guidelines governing laboratory animals, publications in respected journals and textbooks, standard veterinary protocols, personal experience, and the input of the investigator. At times we may also request advice or comments from well known experts in the research area under review. The three R’s (reduction, refinement and replacement), initially published in 1956, apply to all protocols being reviewed. We expect field researchers, like laboratory animal researchers, to use an appropriate number of animals to obtain significant results, to use the most refined techniques possible, and to consider alternatives to any procedures that may cause pain or discomfort. The latter is slightly different from the application of "alternatives" in biomedical research where researchers are expected to consider non-animal alternatives or animals lower on the phylogenetic scale (i.e. insects or fish instead of mammals). Also, the UAF IACUC requires that only trained, experienced personnel should capture, mark, track, transport, take tissue or fluid samples, perform surgery, or kill wild animals. Individuals being trained to conduct these activities should be supervised until they have demonstrated proficiency in the techniques.  Training opportunities are available at this Institution.


Guidelines for the Responsible Use of Animals in the Classroom. Issued by the National Science Teachers Association in July 1991 (last revised March 2008).

Guidelines for the treatment of animals in behavioural research and teaching. Issued by Elsevier and incorporated by reference into the Animal Behaviour Guide for Authors. Animal Behaviour, 2006, 71(1), 245-253.

Government Principles and Guidelines

U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training. U.S. Interagency Research Animal Committee.

Although as a US institution we are not bound by the requirements of the Canadian Council on Animal Care's Guidelines, they are valuable resources:

  • Volume 1, 2nd edition (1993) - This is the Canadian equivalent to the American "Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals".
  • Volume 2 (1984) (see links at the bottom of the web page) - This volume is getting a little outdated and needs a re-write. Nevertheless, it is one of the best resources available that gives nice overview of care and use of a wide variety of animals including mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish.
  • All CCAC Guidelines

Transportation Standards

The Animal Welfare Act and associated regulations set basic requirements and standards for the transport of animals. These documents are available via the USDA's Animal Welfare website.

The Live Animal Regulations (LAR) published by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) contain the industry standards for live animal caging and care. These regulations meet or exceed the standards set by the animal welfare act and have been adopted by most commercial air carriers. The UAF Office of Research Integrity maintains a copy of the LAR or you may purchase the current version from IATA (http://www.iata.org/ps/publications/lar.htm).