Skip to main content
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Animals, Teaching, and Research at Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College sometimes employs living animals in order to fulfill the College’s dual missions of teaching and research. The use of animals in teaching or research must be justified and clearly have an expected benefit either to human or animal health, the advancement of knowledge, or to society in general. Thus, before faculty are allowed to use animals for research or teaching at Dartmouth, an extensive protocol must be prepared and then approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). In this protocol, the applicant must show (i) that the number of animals to be used is the minimal required to generate statistically significant results (Reduction); (ii) that the procedures to be used are those that will generate the minimum of pain or discomfort (Refinement); and (iii) that there are no currently available viable alternatives to the use of animals for the objectives of the proposed research or teaching (Replacement). These are the three R’s governing the responsible use of animals in teaching and research. Dartmouth College is very proud of the accomplishments of its faculty members in fulfilling our dual missions of teaching and research and is committed to the humane treatment of the animals under its care.  Dartmouth applies the same standards of care and consideration to all vertebrate, non-human animals--i. e. mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish--used in all activities that promote the research and teaching missions of the university. The following sections summarize specific details relevant to the Animal Care and Use Program at Dartmouth.

Dartmouth College Animal Use Policy

Dartmouth College is committed to the humane and judicious use of animals in research, testing and teaching. In support of this commitment, the college is also committed to maintaining accreditation by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) and compliance with all appropriate governmental laws, regulations and policies. These laws, regulations and policies set standards in such areas as the composition and functions or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, including review of animal welfare considerations of all research and teaching protocols and semiannual facility and program review; procurement, transportation and housing of laboratory animals; the appropriate use of anesthetics, analgesics, and tranquilizers; the use of aseptic technique; multiple survival surgery; the consideration of alternative (adjunct) methodology; unnecessary duplication of research; training of research and animal care staff; veterinary care; and occupational health. All investigators using animals in research, testing, and teaching must comply with all Dartmouth College Animal Care and Use Policies.

Animal Care Regulatory Authorities

Dartmouth recognizes the following regulatory authorities for the care and use of animals.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The staff of the Animal Care (AC) branch of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) division of the USDA is responsible for enforcing the regulations and standards promulgated by the Secretary of Agriculture under the mandate of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The regulations define the institutional responsibility for assuring compliance with the AWA. The standards set minimal requirements for humane handling, housing, feeding and watering, sanitation, exercise for dogs, psychological well being of primates and transportation. Compliance requirements include an annual report containing institutional assurances of acceptable standards of animal care and use and documentation of the number of animals used including summaries of the exceptions granted for scientific necessity and periodic unannounced inspections by AC personnel.

Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC)

AAALAC certifies than an animal care program meets the standards as set forth in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. On site accreditation reviews are conducted at least every three years and include inspection of housing and research facilities, review of animal care standards, and evaluation of institutional programs as they relate to the care and use of animals in research, testing and teaching. Compliance requirements include and annual report detailing any changes in staff, equipment, and programs and an annual usage report for all vertebrate animals.

Public Health Service (PHS)

The Office for Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) is responsible for the general administration and coordination of NIH policy regarding animal care and use. Public Health Service awarding units may not make an award for a project involving animals unless the institution submitting the application or proposal is on the list of institutions that have an acceptable animals welfare assurance letter on file with OLAW, and the responsible institutional official has provided verification of approval by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). All records that directly relate to applications, proposals, and proposed changes in ongoing research reviewed and approved by the IACUC must be maintained for at least three years after completion of the research and must be accessible to the OLAW with reasonable notice.

General Policy

  • The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee shall advise the Institutional Official in all matters relating to the care and use of animals in research, testing and teaching, and shall assure that all such programs comply with all Dartmouth Animal Care and Use policies. In accordance with the Animals Welfare Act and The Public Health Service Policy, the IACUC and the Institutional Official have the responsibility and the authority to terminate activity if it determines that the activity cannot be brought into compliance with these policies.
  • The Director of the Animal Care and Use Program is responsible for monitoring animal care and use practices and for providing advice and assistance to investigators in the correction of any deficiencies with respect to conformance with applicable policies, laws and regulations. The veterinary staff of Dartmouth College will provide routine medical care to all animals housed in campus facilities. Protocol created or related illnesses are the responsibility of the investigator who, in consultation with the veterinary staff, shall provide necessary treatment or support. Any animal illness, injury or abnormal behavior shall be reported promptly to a member of the veterinary staff.  In all cases, the Attending Veterinarian has the ultimate authority to override an approved animal protocol if she decides it is in the best interests of animal welfare (see also next bullet point below).
  • Animal care and use shall be conducted with due consideration for the health and comfort of the animals and in conformance with all applicable laws and regulations, including those pertaining to occupational health and environmental health and safety.  The Attending Veterinarian at Dartmouth College, as per the Federal Animal Welfare Act, has final authority and responsibility to insure that veterinary care is adequate and has the authority to change an experimental or animal housing procedure if she determines that it is in the best interests of the health and comfort of the animal.
  • The judicious use of animals for research, testing and teaching shall be based on the anticipated significance of the knowledge to be gained as weighted against the effects on the animals.
  • Research, testing and teaching involving animals shall be conducted by, or under the immediate supervision of, a qualified scientist.
  • Research, testing and teaching involving animals shall be conducted using methods that are appropriate for the study. Where relevant, these methods include accepted surgical techniques, aseptic procedure, pre- and post-operative and pre- and post-procedural care, use of pain relieving medications, approved methods of euthanasia, and verification of animals death prior to disposal.
  • Research, testing and teaching procedures shall be designed to avoid distress and pain. Pain and distress shall be relieved by the appropriate use of anesthetics, analgesics or other procedures throughout the experiment except when it has been specifically determined that the use of such drugs or procedures would defeat the purpose of the experiment and there is no available alternative.
  • The investigator in charge of the research project or teaching activity, or a qualified designee, shall monitor its progress to identify any unanticipated effects on the animals, to implement any modifications necessary to avoid pain or relieve distress and to reevaluate the desirability of continuing the study if there is reason to believe its continuation may result in unnecessary injury or discomfort to the animals.
  • The investigator in charge of the research, testing and teaching activity is responsible for ensuring that all subordinate personnel have received appropriate training and instruction in the humane care and use of animals before subordinate individuals are involved in animal use.
  • The investigator in charge of the research testing or teaching activity is responsible for ensuring that all subordinate personnel are appropriately involved in the occupational health program before subordinate individuals are involved in animal use.
  • The investigator in charge of a project or procedure involving animals shall prepare animal use protocols, which must be approved by the IACUC prior to commencement of activity. Proposed changes in animal protocols, i.e., those that directly affect the animals, shall be submitted to the IACUC for approval prior to commencement of the changes.
  • All animals used in research, testing and teaching shall be procured only through the Animal Resources Center (ARC). The ARC office shall maintain a list of USDA-licensed sources that are approved by the Director of the Animal Care and Use Program. Animal protocols shall be approved by the IACUC prior to animal procurement. Animals used for research, testing and teaching are the property of Dartmouth College. No animal, unfixed animal carcass or part thereof shall be removed from or brought onto college property for the purpose of research, testing or teaching without the approval of the Director or the Animal Care and Use Program.
  • When procedures are likely to cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress, a member of the veterinary staff should be consulted and procedures shall be performed with appropriate sedatives, analgesics or anesthetics unless withholding such agents is justified for scientific reasons and approved by the IACUC. Such procedures shall be closely supervised by the investigator in charge of the project or a qualified designee.
  • Methods used for euthanasia must be those recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association Panel on Euthanasia or approved by the IACUC.
  • Survival surgery shall be done in appropriate facilities using aseptic technique as described in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Multiple survival procedures may be permitted only with prior approval of the IACUC. Cost alone is not an adequate justification for performing more than one major survival surgical procedure on an animal.
  • Procedures requiring prolonged restraint (greater than 1 hour) must be scientifically justified with assurance that a member of the veterinary staff examines the animal on a predetermined schedule to insure the animal's well being.
  • The IACUC may revise these policies or develop new policies and guidelines relative to specific techniques or types of research. Such policies will be published and made available to investigators.

Animal Care and Housing

  • Campus practices in the housing and care of animals shall conform to the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.
  • Animals shall be housed only in facilities, which meet AAALAC standards for accreditation. No satellite facility (defined as housing animals greater than 12 hours) shall be developed or maintained without the approval of the IACUC. Animals removed to teaching or research laboratories must be returned to an accredited animal facility within 12 hours. Animals shall be transported in appropriate, clean containers with proper animal restraint to avoid injury.
  • Animals used for teaching or research are the property of Dartmouth College. No animal shall be removed from or brought onto college property for the purpose of teaching or research without the approval of the IACUC.
  • Any animal illness, injury, or anticipated abnormal behavior shall be reported promptly to a staff veterinarian.
  • Disposal of animal carcasses shall be conducted in accordance with guidelines developed by the ARC and Department of Biosafety.

Last Updated: 9/10/12