The primary job of the animal facility staff is to provide for the daily husbandry and care of UAF animals. This includes cleaning and basic maintenance of the animal facilities. UAF Facilities Services maintains the environmental systems (e.g. air handling, heating, cooling, plumbing and lighting) and does other maintenance (e.g. painting, repairs, and new construction) at the request of the facility manager.
Minimum husbandry and care requirements are set by federal regulation and policy. Husbandry and care of live vertebrates at UAF is done by trained animal facility staff. Researchers or teaching faculty/staff may be permitted to assume husbandry and/or daily care of animals once trained by the animal facility staff and approved by the IACUC.
Of primary importance to a research animal and to the outcome of your experiments is the establishment of a regular routine.
Animals, like humans, tend to be conservative and do not appreciate irregular, unpredictable occurrences. With this in mind, unless it conflicts with your study design, you should establish a regular schedule for:
- Feeding routines
- Cleaning routines
- Sanitation procedures
- Experimental procedures
Animal caging/housing is an important aspect of a good animal care facility and program. The following are required features of appropriate animal caging/housing:
- Facilitate animal well-being, meet research requirements, and minimize experimental variables.
- Space must be adequate -- permitting freedom of movement and normal postural adjustments, and provide an appropriate resting place.
- Provide a comfortable environment (species specific).
- Escape proof.
- Easy access to food and water.
- Adequate ventilation.
- Meet animals' biological needs.
- Keep animals dry and clean.
- Avoid unnecessary physical restraint.
- Protect animals from known hazards.
- Provide ability to observe animal (at least once every 24 hours).
Caging systems are quite variable and offer different advantages or disadvantages depending upon the species to be housed and the research objectives. One change that is coming is the shift away from wire bottom cages to solid bottom cages. See section 3 of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PDF).
Caging and housing material should be made of sturdy durable material designed to minimize cross infection. This generally means the use of stainless steel, plastics, or some other material that provides an impervious surface. In general, caging/housing should be able to be washed in the commercial cage washers found in the animal facilities. Consult with the facility manager prior to purchasing any caging/housing materials that require hand washing.
You should make an effort to provide environmental enrichment for your animals when it will not interfere with research, teaching or testing objectives. There are many publications available on environmental enrichment in a variety of species. The animal facility or veterinary services staff can help you select appropriate enrichment products for your animals.
Facility Access - User Access
Access to the facilities is limited to Animal Facility and Veterinary Services staff, Facility Services personnel, and personnel on approved IACUC Assurances being conducted within the facility. There are several things that must be completed before you can be given access:
- Complete this online training program (Note: Additional training may be required prior to conducting specific activities, but will not hold-up facility access authorization.)
- Complete any Occupational Health & Safety Program requirements
- Attend an IACUC Orientation Session
Animal Facility access is a privilege that comes with responsibilities.
- All animal facility users are expected to immediately report facility problems or safety issues to the facility manager.
- Immediately report sick, injured or dead animals to Veterinary Services.
- Request permission from the animal facility manager prior to bringing unauthorized persons into the animal facility.
- Never share your PolarExpress or Prox Card with anyone.
- Only enter the animal facilities when you have specific work to conduct there. Do not use it for non-animal related activities, without permission from the animal facility manager.
- UAF expects that all authorized animal facility users will assist the facility staff and campus police in maintaining the security of our animal facilities by immediately reporting any unauthorized (known or suspected) access to the facility.
- If you see someone you don't know in the animal facility, ask them their name and who they work with and check with the Office of Research Integrity or the Animal Facility Manager.
Anyone with concerns about animal care and use, specific IACUC assurances, occupational health & safety or other issues related to the UAF Animal Facilities or any UAF activity involving animals, may also use the Compliance report template (WORD) form to report their concerns to the Office of Research Integrity. This form may be submitted anonymously.