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Research Compliance

Animal Care and Use Policy & Procedures


Addressing Animal Care and Use in Research and Instruction Policy


Western Washington University provides the best possible care for animals used in research or teaching both for humane reasons and to foster high-quality research. Accordingly, all animals owned, cared for, or handled by the University are covered by these policies and procedures. Animal care meet or exceed the guidelines established by the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Standards for laboratory animal husbandry, veterinary care, and animal facilities meet those described by The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PDF) published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

General Guidelines for the Use of Laboratory Animals

The educational and research use of laboratory and field animals is and has been of enormous value to our world, and for this reason, Western sponsors animal research. In our laboratories and classes, the educational goal or the research objective will determine whether the use of animals is justified.

Duties of the Investigators

  • Principal Investigators must obtain ACUC approval prior to obtaining animals or initiating research. No research or education can begin using vertebrate animals until approval has been obtained by the ACUC.
  • Investigators, staff, and students have a moral obligation to abide by the humanitarian dictate that experimental animals are not to be subjected to unnecessary pain or distress.
  • Investigators have an obligation to use the minimum number of animals possible to achieve scientifically valid results.
  • Investigators have an obligation to use the lowest order of animals possible for their research and, if possible, use non-animal alternatives.
  • The use of live, vertebrate animals in the lab or in the field for research or teaching must be performed by, or under the supervision of, a qualified investigator approved by the ACUC.
  • Investigators are responsible for training personnel in the humane care and use of animals and confirming that all members of their research team have completed the CITI ACUC training course.

Treatment of Animals

    Care and Use of Laboratory Animal standards as established by “The Guide” include:
  • Investigators must provide animals with appropriate environmental enrichment including social groupings and the enrichment of the animals’ physical environment; whenever possible.
  • Animals must receive care seven days a week.
  • Dietary or water restrictions must be scientifically justified and must be approved by the ACUC.
  • Animals cannot be removed from the vivarium for more than 24 hours without ACUC approval.
  • Investigators must use pharmaceutical grade drugs whenever available. Use of non-pharmaceutical grade drugs should be described and justified in the animal care and use protocol and approved by the ACUC.
  • Procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress the animals will be performed with appropriate sedation, analgesia, or anesthesia, unless justified for scientific reasons in writing by the investigator and approved by the ACUC.
  • Investigators must euthanize animals in a humane way as established in the American Veterinarian Medical Association Guidelines for Euthanasia of Animals.


All individuals named on an Animal Care and Use (ACUC) Protocol must complete training. For additional training information, please view our Training page