Animal Research • Who • What • Where • When • Why
WHAT is Animal Research? • Research in the biological or medical sciences that uses animals as test subjects. • The animal studied could be the actual subject of the research • e.g., zoological research in a native habitat • The animal studied could be serving as a model for its own species • e.g., testing heartworm medications in dogs
WHAT is Animal Research? • The animal studied could be serving as a model for humans • e.g., testing medications for safety, and to see if they work (efficacy) • The animal studied could be serving as a model for animals in general (including humans) • e.g., how blood clots, how the brain works
WHO does Animal Research? • At UM, all projects must be directed by a faculty member, who has either an advanced graduate level degree (Ph.D.) or a professional degree (M.D., D.V.M.) • Usually, research assistants, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, professional students, and/or undergraduate students are actually performing the experiments.
WHY do Animal Research? • Because animals are often the best (or only) means available to study a biological process in the context of a whole organism. Other systems cannot simulate the complex interrelationships between organ systems and/or cannot predict those relationships that are, as yet, unknown.
WHY do Animal Research? • Many people support “alternatives to animals” for biomedical research • Cell cultures can mimic some aspects of biology, but they aren’t as complex. • Computers can mimic some aspects of biology, but they can’t analyze beyond that for which they are programmed.
Where is Animal Research done? • Universities, colleges, private and government institutes, pharmaceutical companies, and government and military installations. • At UM there are 31 animal “facilities” in 23 different buildings on campus.
WHEN is Animal Research done? • 24 Hours per day! • The animals stay all night • Several projects actually involve after-hours work • Very important fact to remember if your facility houses animals • Nighttime work (when employees are gone) does not help with animal facilities
WHAT is ULAM? • A campus division that • Provides veterinary care to all university-owned animals • Ensures that all federal and state regulations are followed • Operates a service that provides daily care to animals upon request • Can provide technical assistance to researchers for their animal studies
WHAT is ULAM? • ULAM is also a “department” within the medical school • It is considered a basic science department, even though the faculty perform clinical services for the animal “patients” • It has research and teaching functions • It has faculty members, most of whom are veterinarians
WHO am I? • Robert C. Dysko, D.V.M. • Associate Director of ULAM • Clinical Associate Professor of Laboratory Animal Medicine • A veterinary specialist, board certified by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine • ULAM’s faculty liaison for animal facility design and renovation issues • Vice-Chairman of UCUCA
WHAT is UCUCA? • University Committee on Use and Care of Animals • It is mandated by two government regulations • It reviews all applications to use animals at UM • It inspects UM animal facilities twice per year • Sometimes called the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
WHAT is UCUCA? • UCUCA is advisory to the Vice-President for Research • Funding for UCUCA is through the Office of the Vice-President for Research • Operation of the program and staff supervision is through ULAM
WHAT are the LAWS? • Animal Welfare Act • Oversight by the USDA • Covers all mammals except rats and mice • Health Research Extension Act • Oversight by the Public Health Service (PHS) • Covers all vertebrates • Applies because UM gets funds from PHS agencies (like NIH and CDC)
Animal Welfare Act • We must follow laws written by the USDA regarding care and housing of animals. • Not following these rules is breaking the law, punishable by fine or suspension. • USDA inspectors visit unannounced. • Violations can be seen by the public using the Freedom of Information Act.
Public Health Service Policy • Requires institutions to follow a handbook known as the “Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.” • The “Guide” gives recommendations for animal care and facility management. • Encourages animal research facilities to be accredited by AAALAC.
WHAT is AAALAC? • Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care • AAALAC is a review body that assesses the animal facility once every 3 years. • AAALAC site visitors are professionals from other institutions. • AAALAC results are confidential.
Specialized areas of research buildings with unique needs and requirements HVAC Lighting Surfaces Fire alarms Plumbing Waste Management Security Animal Facilities
Animal Facilities - HVAC • 10-15 air changes per hour • 100% fresh air in and out • Control of air flow relative to corridor • Individual room re-heats • NEW - ventilation directly into the cage • Plant Dept. (Building Automation Services) getting more involved with monitoring and controlling animal room HVAC
Animal Facilities - Lighting • Day / night cycles • Adjustable • Override cannot have a “hold” feature • Use of red light during “night” cycles • Intensity • Albino animals require lower intensity • Most animal rooms have two-level lighting
Animal Facilities - Surfaces • In general, must be smooth, moisture resistant, free of imperfections, and easily cleanable • Flooring • Wall surfaces and paint • Ceiling types • Solid • Suspended panels
Animal Facilities - Fire Alarms • Becoming an interesting issue • Must balance needs of personnel safety against needs of research project to be free from undesirable noise and light • Factors to consider • Frequency (pitch) of alarm sound • Decibel level • Strobe lights
Animal Facilities - Plumbing • Hot and cold water • Adequate drains • Steam for cage washing equipment and room re-heat coils • Automatic watering systems • Tap water vs. deionized vs. reverse osmosis vs. well water • Aquatic animals
Animal Facilities - Waste Mgmt. • Carcasses • landfill vs. incineration vs. alkaline hydrolysis • Bedding and “stuff” • landfill • Biohazards • incineration vs. alkaline hydrolysis • Recycling?
Animal Facilities - Security • New issue since late 1980’s • Problem: Keep intruders out while letting research continue with minimal obstruction • Does help ensure proper training of new research staff and reduce “zoo” use by UM employees • ID card swipe replaces voice access system • Intrusions report to Dept. of Public Safety
WHO are we keeping out? • The violent arm of the animal rights movement • Individuals who feel that vandalism and law-breaking are acceptable actions in defense of their cause • People who may be looking for “information” without permission • People who simply have no reason to be in the animal facility
WHY are they against Animal Research? • Feel that research = torture of animals • Feel that research results have actually impeded medical progress • Feel that animals are sentient beings and deserve rights equivalent to humans
Product safety Medications Vaccines Surgical procedures Organ transplants Artificial joints and organs Heart-lung bypass Understanding of infectious diseases Understanding of metabolic diseases Understanding of genetic diseases Understanding of multifactorial diseases Benefits of Animal Research
Benefits of Animal Research • Artificial Heart • Implanted in Louisville, used calves as model • Artificial Lung • Being developed here, uses sheep as model • Gene Therapy • Typically uses mice, sometimes monkeys • Combating Biological Warfare • Anthrax, smallpox
More Alphabet Soup • AALAS - American Association of Laboratory Animal Science • Encompasses all aspects of laboratory animal care - vets, technicians, vendors, scientists • Is the organization that sponsors our largest annual convention
More Alphabet Soup • ASLAP - American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners • Composed of veterinarians only • Is our political arm within the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
More Alphabet Soup • ACLAM - American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine • Composed of veterinarians only • Is the specialty board - one must have credentials and pass an examination to be a member • Publishes many texts on laboratory animal science and medicine