Information Resources for Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees 1985-1999 *************************


When the USDA Veterinary Medical Officer Looks at Your Training Program

Ed Slauter, DVM
Veterinary Medical Officer
United States Department of Agriculture
APHIS/Animal Care

This paper was originally presented at the 1998 Laboratory Animal Welfare Training Exchange conference held in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Animal Welfare Act mandates that each research facility shall provide for the training of scientists, animal technicians, and other personnel involved with animal care and treatment in the facility.

Title 9 - Code of Federal Regulations - Chapter 1, Subchapter A - Animal Welfare §2.32 gives specific requirements for training as follows:

(a) It shall be the responsibility of the research facility to ensure that all scientists, research technicians, animal technicians, and other personnel involved in animal care, treatment, and use are qualified to perform their duties. This responsibility shall be fulfilled in part through the provision of training and instruction to those personnel.

(b) Training and instruction shall be made available, and qualifications of personnel reviewed, with sufficient frequency to fulfill the research facility's responsibilities under this section and §2.31.

(c) Training and instruction of personnel must include guidance in at least the following areas:

    (1) Humane methods of animal maintenance and experimentation, including:

      (i) The basic needs of each species of animal;
      (ii) Proper handling and care for the various species of animals used by the facility.
      (iii) Proper pre-procedural and post-procedural care of animals; and
      (iv) Aseptic surgical methods and procedures.

    (2) The concept, availability, and use of research or testing methods that limit the use of animals or minimize animal distress.

    (3) Proper use of anesthetics, analgesics, and tranquilizers for any species of animals used by the facility.

    (4) Methods whereby deficiencies in animal care and treatment are reported, including deficiencies in animal care and treatment reported by any employee of the facility. No facility employee, committee member, or laboratory personnel shall be discriminated against or be subject to any reprisal for reporting violations of any regulation or standards under the Act,

    (5) Utilization of Services (e.g., National Agricultural Library, National Library of Medicine) available to provide information;

      (i)On appropriate methods of animal care and use;
      (ii) On alternatives to the use of live animals in research;
      (iii) That could prevent unintended and unnecessary duplication of research involving animals; and
      (iv) Regarding the intent and regulation of the Act.

The IACUC of each research facility is charged with the responsibility of reviewing on a semi- annual basis the research facility's entire program for humane care and use of animals. A vital component of every program is the training of all personnel involved in animal care, treatment, and use.

The IACUC must determine that all personnel conducting procedures on animals being maintained or studied are appropriately qualified and trained in those procedures.

The USDA veterinary medical officer, when inspecting a research facility, has the challenging task of evaluating the facility's overall training program.

This evaluation process should involve asking the following questions:

  • Is training and instruction available to all personnel involved in animal care, treatment, and use?
  • Does the training program include guidance in all areas listed in §2.32 - Personnel qualifications of the regulations?
  • Is there adequate documentation of qualifications and training of personnel?
  • Has the IACUC been provided sufficient documentation for it to fulfill its tasks of reviewing qualifications and training of all personnel involved in all proposed or ongoing activities?
  • Does the semi-annual program review of animal care and use include personnel qualifications and training?
  • Has there been input and oversight by the attending veterinarian toward an effective training program?
  • Are procedures being adequately monitored to insure competency in situations such as new or inexperienced personnel?
  • How does the facility assess training needs of personnel on an ongoing basis?
  • Is there a training program for the IACUC members, especially the non-affiliated member?
  • Are there written guidelines and training for animal pain or distress assessment that is relevant to the research work at the facility
  • Are investigators adequately training on how to conduct and document a search for alternatives to painful or distressful procedures?
  • Have protocols been developed for animals being used for procedure training for technicians or investigators?

A responsible training program should be in place at each research facility. Each training program may vary from one facility to another depending on the type of research being conducted and the needs of the facility. When a VMO reviews a training program, professional judgment is critical.

Documentation is important, but the "results" of a training program are the primary consideration.


Adsit, K.I., S.P. Tomasovic, A.J. Mastromarino, and K.N. Gray (1990). Evaluation of the effectiveness of an animal care and use training program. Lab Animal 19(4): 50, 52-54.
NAL call number: QL55 A1L33
Descriptors: University of Texas, training modules, training program assessment.

American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) (1991). Training Manual Series, Volume III Laboratory Animal Technologist. Cordova, Tennessee: AALAS.
NAL call number: SF77 L26
Abstract: One of a series of manuals produced by AALAS to assist animal care personnel in obtaining certification at various levels of competence. Topics covered in this volume include" functions of management, identifying and controlling costs, regulations and security, scientific fundamentals in laboratory animal science, breeding and husbandry, laboratory animal environment, animal health, and research techniques, other manuals are available from AALAS through their website at

Anderson, L.C. and M.J. Brown (1990). Training of animal care and use personnel: principles and program implementation. In Anesthesia and analgesia in laboratory animals proceedings -- 1990 Forum, American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, Columbia Inn, Columbia, Maryland, May 3-6, 1990. [Columbia, Md. : American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, pp. 113-115.
NAL call number: SF914 A53 1990
Descriptors: training, technicians, animal husbandry.

Bennett, B.T., M.J. Brown, and J.C. Schofield (1990). Essentials for animal research. A primer for research personnel. Beltsville, Maryland: Animal Welfare Information Center, 126 p.
The full text document is available at
NAL call number: aQL55 B36 1994
Descriptors: regulations, animal welfare, aseptic surgery, anesthesia, alternatives, animal care as an experimental variable, euthanasia, laboratory animals, techniques.

bin Zakaria, M., N.W. Lerche, B.B. Chomel, and P.H. Kass (1996). Accidental injuries associated with nonhuman primate exposure at two regional primate research centers (USA): 1988-1993. Laboratory Animal Science 46(3): 298-304.
NAL call number: 410.9 P94
Abstract: Although occupationally acquired zoonoses of nonhuman primates have been well documented, the epidemiology of work-related injuries associated with occupational exposure to nonhuman primates has not been studied. To investigate such injuries, we retrospectively reviewed injury records at one regional primate research center and distributed a self-administered, anonymous questionnaire to at-risk personnel at two centers. Records of bite, animal-inflicted scratch, needle stick, cut, and mucous membrane exposure injuries were reviewed at one center for the 5-year period 1988 to 1993 to determine incidence and frequency of injuries and to identify possible risk factors. A total of 261 injuries were reported during this period, with an annual incidence for all injuries combined ranging from 43.5 to 65.5 injuries per 100,000 person workdays (pwd) at risk. For specific injuries the highest incidence was observed for animal-inflicted scratches and bites, with a rate of 82 and 81 per 100,000 pwd respectively. The job category Veterinary Resident was found to have the highest incidence for needle stick injuries (547 per 100,000 pwd), scratches (239 per 100,000 pwd), and cuts (171 per 100,000 pwd). The highest rates for bites were observed in the job categories Animal Health Technician and Animal Technician, with 171 and 150 per 100,000 pwd respectively; the category Staff Veterinarian had the highest rate of mucous membrane exposures (71 per 100,000 pwd). The frequency of all injuries was greatest in personnel employed < or = 2 years. Questionnaire responses indicated that having > 20 h per week of contact with nonhuman primates or contact with more than 50 nonhuman primates per week was associated with a significantly increased risk of bites, animal-inflicted scratches, needle sticks, and mucous membrane exposures. In addition, data analysis indicated that under-reporting of work-related injuries was high; 59% of scratches, 50% of mucous membrane exposures, 45% of cuts, 37% of bites, and 20% of needle stick injuries went unreported. Results of this study identify job categories with a high incidence of specific injuries, for which additional targeted training and prevention programs may be beneficial, as well as providing quantitative baseline data for evaluating the effectiveness of any new safety programs or practices.
Descriptors: accidents, occupational statistics and numerical data, housing, animal statistics and numerical data, occupational diseases, epidemiology, primates wounds, bites, animal technicians, laboratory personnel, needle stick injuries epidemiology, primate diseases transmission, primates microbiology, retrospective-studies, risk-factors, zoonoses.

Bowd, A.D. (1998). Animal care courses: Helping fulfill the mandate of animal care committees in Canada. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 1(4): 353-360.
NAL call number: HV4701 J68
Descriptors: ethics, alternatives, humane animal use, organization of animal care courses, training investigators, students, and IACUC members, topics covered include: regulations and legislation, ethical issues, alternatives, animal welfare, animal care, zoonoses and biohazards, animal surgery and euthanasia, practical handling of animals, improving statistical power, wildlife issues, case studies, teaching methods.

Duffee, N. (1999). Alternative Training Methods I: Proceedings of the 1998 LAWTE Meeting. Lab Animal 28(5): 24.
NAL call number: QL55 A1L33
Abstract: The author discusses alternative training methods presented at the 1998 meeting of the Laboratory Animal Welfare Training Exchange.
Descriptors: USDA training requirements, finding alternative training methods, simulation models, venipuncture, endotracheal intubation, surgical techniques, computer media, virtual reality, developing training programs.

Duffee, N. And M.T. Fallon (1998). Researcher training: a new frontier. Lab Animal 27(8):32-36.
NAL call number: QL55 A1L33
Descriptors: computer-based training materials, videotape, self-assessment web server, training researchers n animal care and use techniques, endotracheal intubation, project status.

Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations (FELASA) (1999). FELASA guidelines for education of specialists in laboratory animal science (Category D). Laboratory Animals 33(1): 1-15.
NAL call number: QL55 A1L3
Descriptors: category D corresponds to laboratory higher management, veterinarians, facilty managers, etc., level of studies, specific requirements necessary for category D, detailed description of curriculum.

Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations (FELASA) (1995). FELASA recommendations on the education and training of persons working with laboratory animals: Categories A and C. Laboratory Animals 29(2): 121-131.
NAL call number: QL55 A1L3
Descriptors: category A corresponds to laboratory animal technicians/technologists, category C corresponds to study directors, levels of certification, overview of duties and responsibilities at different levels, animal care, animal husbandry, safety, legislation, responsibility for defined tasks and procedures, teaching syllabus and objectives.

Green, R.J. (1997). Developing and implementing personnel safety programs. II. Safety training and education in animal research. Lab Animal 26(6): 27 -30.
NAL call number: QL55 A1L33
Descriptors: laboratory hazards, animal experiments, biosafety, training, educational programs, laboratory workers.

Hutchison, J. (1989). Thoughts on educating community members of animal care and use committees. In Science and Animals: Addressing Contemporary Issues H.N. Guttman, J.A. Mench, and R.C. Simmonds (eds.), Bethesda, Maryland: Scientists Center for Animal Welfare, pp. 129-132.
NAL call number: HV4704 S33 1988
Descriptors: guidelines, public representation, educational programs.

Jennings, M. and P. Hawkins (1998). Developing the ethics component of the U.K. modular training system for laboratory animal scientists: A LASA workshop report. Animal Welfare 7(4): 445-458.
NAL call number: HV4701.A557
Abstract: This paper presents the report of a LASA workshop on developing the ethics component of the UK modular training system for laboratory animal scientists. The objectives were: (i) to define and agree on the goals of ethics training; (ii) to set out means of achieving these goals in terms of an appropriate syllabus, effective approaches to training, and the resources necessary; (iii) to define the audience-who should be trained and to what level; and (iv) to consider the practicalities and means of assessment of prospective licensees. Although the focus was on the UK system, the issues are similar wherever ethics is taught in the laboratory animal context.

Jones, S.A. and T.J. Sharpe (1994). An integrated training programme to meet UK guidelines for staff at all levels working with animals. In Welfare and science proceedings of the Fifth Symposium of the Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations, 8-11 June 1993, Brighton, UK / Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations Symposium London: Royal Society of Medicine Press, pp. 363-364.
NAL call number: QL55 F43 1993
Descriptors: laboratory workers, training, laboratory animals, animal welfare, United Kingdom.

Maltby, C.J. (1989). Partnership in training--a winning combination. Lab Animal 18(5): 38-39.
NAL call number: L55 A1L33
Descriptors: laboratory animals, research institutes, educational programs.

National Academy of Sciences (1991). Education and Training in the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals: A Guide for Developing Institutional Programs. Washington, D.C.: Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources, 144 p.
NAL call number: SF604 E3
Abstract: The Committee on Education Programs in Laboratory Animal Science (EPLAS) has prepared this guide to aid institutions in implementing an education and training program that will meet the expectations of the Public Health Service (PHS). This guide was designed to fulfill several purposes. First, it is intended to assist institutional officials and institutional animal care and use committees (IACUCs) in determining the scope and depth of education training programs that will meet both institutional needs and the requirements of the PHS. Second, it is offered as a reference for the person or committee assigned the responsibility for coordinating these programs. Finally, portions of the guide will be useful to those people (content experts) who develop the material to be presented. To accommodate the diverse backgrounds and needs of personnel, the committee has developed a multiphase program. Those topics considered essential elements for all personnel have been arranged into a single introductory module. The next three modules cover specific species, pain-management, and surgery. The next section of the guide contains detailed content outlines of the subjects covered in the four modules. The material in the modules is cross-referenced to appropriate subtopics in this section. Information on the following topics is provided: (1) laws, regulations, and policies that impact on the care and use of animals; (2) ethical and scientific issues; (3) alternatives to dissection; (4) responsibilities of the institution, the animal care and use committee, and the research and veterinary staffs; (5) pain and distress; (6) anesthetics, tranquilizers, analgesics, and neuromuscular blocking agents; (7) survival surgery and postsurgical care; (8) euthanasia; (9) husbandry, care, and the importance of the environment; and (10) a species-specific overview. The next section contains sources of information, selected bibliography, and audiovisual materials. The last section provides information on how to develop, deliver, and evaluate an educational program. Principles for the utilization and care of vertebrate animals used in testing, research, and training; a description of the Animal Welfare Information Center; and samples of learning objectives or self-assessment statements that coordinators may want to use or adapt for use at their institutions are appended.
Descriptors: anesthesiology, animal caretakers, animal husbandry, higher education, high schools, laboratory equipment, resource materials, science education, surgery, animal facilities, laboratory animals, research.

Scher, S. (1987). Technician training: Animal care and use committees. Laboratory Animal Science 37(special issue): 150-151.
NAL call number: 410.9 P94
Descriptors: laboratory animal science, animal welfare, education.

Simmonds, R.C. (1987). Role of animal care and use committees in investigator training. Laboratory Animal Science 37(special issue): 152-154.
NAL call number: 410.9 P94
Descriptors: laboratory animals, animal welfare, educational programs.

Slack, G.N. (1996). A summary of industry developed educational resources on food animal care and welfare. In Proceedings One-Hundredth Annual Meeting of the United States Animal Health Association, Excelsior Hotel, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, 12-18 October 1996, pp. 23-30.
NAL call number: 49.9 UN3R
Descriptors: livestock, education, resources, animal welfare, animal husbandry.

Smith, J.A. and M. Jennings (1998). Ethics training for laboratory animal users. Laboratory Animals 32(2): 128-136.
NAL call number: QL55 A1L3
Abstract: In the UK, all applicants for licences under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 must receive training in ethical aspects of laboratory animal use. There is, however, considerable uncertainty about the aims, suitable content and most appropriate means of delivery of such training. In this review a series of aims for licensee training in ethics are proposed, the key content is described and possible approaches to delivering such training are critically evaluated. Ethics training, it is argued, should: (i) be rooted in practice, focusing on the practical application of the Act to licensees' own work and encouraging them to take all possible steps to reduce or resolve any moral conflicts which the work entails; (ii) promote discussion, encouraging licensees to challenge their own views and critically appraise their work; and (iii) provide the necessary theoretical background to inform and stimulate such discussion. A variety of means of generating discussion and a range of practical considerations are explored.
Descriptors: ethics, animal welfare, training, laboratory animals, legislation, education, animal experiments.

Stark, D.M. (1989). The American veterinarians' role and education in laboratory animal science. Animal Technology: Journal of the Institute of Animal Technicians 40(3): 199-201.
NAL call number: QL55 I5
Descriptors: laboratory animals, training, animal husbandry, ACUC.

Sutherland, D.L. and D.R. Russell (1996). Evolution of a training program built on employee involvement. Lab Animal 25(9): 41-43.
NAL call number: QL55 A1L33
Descriptors: developing a training program at a large pharmaceutical facility, inclusion of veterinary care staff and training administrator in development process, subject matter experts, development of core modulese.g., husbandry and care, development of species specific modulese.g., rat, mouse, rabbits, development of task specific modulese.g., handling and restraint, development of reference materials, teaching aids, curriculum, administration support, communication techniques within house to advertise the program, participant recognition program.

Thomas, W.E., P.W. Lee, G.T. Sunderland, and R.P. Day (1996). A preliminary evaluation of an innovative synthetic soft tissue simulation module ('Skilltray') for use in basic surgical skills workshops. Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England 78(6 Suppl): 268-71.
Abstract: The results of a preliminary evaluation comparing the relative merits of biological (freshly-prepared animal offal tissue) and synthetic (Skilltray) simulation modalities are presented, subsequent to their use during two basic surgical skills courses organised by The Royal College of Surgeons of England and The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in September 1995, and at which 18 SHO grade surgical trainees attended. Each trainee completed a questionnaire at the end of the first session on the second day of the course to assist the evaluation. Our conclusions were as follows: 1. The synthetic tissues evaluated provided a useful and functionally reproducible means for learning the basic exercises included in the mandatory skills course. 2. Freshly-prepared animal tissues undoubtedly provided a more "realistic' medium for rehearsing the basic surgical techniques taught. Trainees preferred to use the synthetic tissues initially and then to progress to the fresh equivalents subsequently. 3. The Skilltray provided all the requisite elements for rehearsing basic tissue handling, suturing, and anastomotic techniques in a self-contained, easily transportable module. We would suggest that such a unit be given to each participant to take away at the end of the basic skills course, to enable consolidation of the skills learned. 4. Where the use of fresh tissues is not possible the highly functional nature of the synthetic simulators evaluated make it acceptable then to use them as the only training modality.
Descriptors: artificial organs, education, graduate methods, surgery education, teaching materials, attitude of personnel, evaluation studies, artificial skin, alternatives.

Tomasovic, S.P., K.N. Gray, A.J. Mastromarino, and K.I. Adsit (1989). Animal care and training for temporary research employees. Lab Animal 18(4): 27-28,30,32.
NAL call number: QL55 A1L33
Descriptors: training programs, training, animal care and use, protocol, ACUC.

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (1990). Responsible care and use of animals in research and training: institutional animal care training program. San Antonio, Texas: University of Texas Health Science Center, 36 p.
NAL call number: HV4933 T4U5
Descriptors: laboratory animals, animal welfare, animal models, bioethics.

Van Hoosier, G.L. Jr., M.B. Dennis, Jr, C. Pekow, and C.S.Scott (1994). Research animal management problems as a strategy for education and training. Contemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science 33(5): 72-74.
NAL call number: SF405.5 A23
Descriptors: veterinary education, animal husbandry, training, educational methods.

Van Hoosier, G.L. Jr., M.B. Dennis, Jr, C. Pekow, and C.S. Scott (1994). Education and training through the use of problem-based learning exercises. In Welfare and science proceedings of the Fifth Symposium of the Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations, 8-11 June 1993, Brighton, UK / Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations Symposium, London: Royal Society of Medicine Press, pp. 89-93.
NAL call number: QL55 F43 1993
Descriptors: veterinary education, teaching methods, research workers, discussion groups, animal welfare, class activities.

White, G.L., M.A. Perry, and S.D. Kosanke (1991). A comprehensive health science center educational program for animal care and use. Lab Animal 20(7): 47-49.
NAL call number: QL55 A1L33
Descriptors: University of Oklahoma, course focus, workshops, laboratories.

Will, J.A. and A. Gendron-Fitzpatrick (1987). Investigator training: Animal care and use committees. Laboratory Animal Science 37(special issue): 159-160.
NAL call number: 410.9 P94
Descriptors: animal welfare, continuing education, laboratory animals, research, universities, ACUC.

Zutphen, B.F.M. van and J.B.F. van der Valk (1995). Education and training: a basis for the introduction of the three Rs alternatives into animal research. Alternatives to Laboratory Animals: ATLA 23(1): 123-127.
NAL call number: Z7994.L3A5.
Abstract: Education is a highly effective way of promoting the introduction of alternatives into the everyday practice of biomedical research and testing. In some countries, specific requirement for the education of persons involved in animal experimentation have been made compulsory by law. In The Netherlands, young scientists must take a course on laboratory animal science as part of, or in addition to, their biomedical graduate programme. This course provides information on the proper design of animal experiments, but also covers alternatives animal welfare issues and ethical aspects of animal experimentation. The Three RB of Russell & Burch are the guiding principles of the course, during which participants are challenged to seek methods or techniques that can replace, reduce or refine the use of animals. Since 1985 more than 2500 people in The Netherlands have taken the course, and evaluations have indicated that a large majority of the participants appreciated this education as a contribution to both the quality of experiments and the welfare of the animals, and considered the course to be indispensable for those who are responsible for the design and performance of animal experiments.
Descriptors: animal testing alternatives, animal experiments, educational courses, training, laboratory animals, animal husbandry.

Useful World Wide Web Sites

Arizona State University, User Training and Certification
Nice example of on-line training at a university.

IACUC Training and Learning Consortium
Links to laboratory animal training sites at U.S. universities and to training media produced by various professional organizations and Federal agencies.

Laboratory Animal Training Association
Provides members with access to on-line training modules, a list of training videos available for purchase, and a buyers guide.

Laboratory Animal Welfare Training Exchange (LAWTE)
The Laboratory Animal Welfare Training Exchange is an organization of trainers, training coordinators and IACUC administrators. By sharing ideas on methods and materials for training, our members can learn together how best to meet the training and qualification requirements of national regulations and guidelines. For more detail look in the section on Organizations.

The University of California, Davis, Classes / SafetyNets / Videos
Training resources related to animal use & care.

University of Florida On-Line Training & Materials
This is a collection of exams, slide shows, tutorials, texts, class notes, etc. that have been put on the web.

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio - Laboratory Animal Programs, Institutional Animal Care Training Program
This site provides a training program overview.

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Updated September 3, 2003