Animal research program passes AAALACi and USDA inspections

Thursday, Aug 30, 2018
by Staff, Research Integrity and Assurance

The Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALACi) has renewed its full accreditation of Princeton, commending the University for “providing and maintaining an exemplary program of laboratory animal care and use.”

Andrew Grady, president of the AAALACi Council on Accreditation, gave the University notice of the organization’s decision in a July 16 letter to Stuart Leland, Princeton’s director of research integrity and assurance.

The letter said that after a recent site visit to Princeton’s lab animal research facilities, the accreditation team found several aspects of the University’s program especially notable, including clean and well-maintained facilities, a high functioning Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and a robust nonhuman primate environmental enrichment program.

In mid-June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found no non-compliant items during a routine unannounced inspection of Princeton University's animal research program.

Princeton is deeply committed to the care and welfare of animals in research. The University recognizes that scientific and medical knowledge developed through animal research has the capacity to save lives, improve human and animal health, and alleviate pain and suffering.

The use of animals in research contributes significantly to advancing the frontiers of knowledge and to saving and prolonging the lives of human beings and animals. Princeton’s program of animal care allows this to occur while upholding the highest standards of regulatory compliance and of humane and responsible treatment of animals. Animals are used in research only when no alternatives exist to address specific scientific questions.

The University actively oversees all research and education involving the use of animals. As part of that oversight, Princeton’s animal research program identifies and reports non-compliance to the relevant governing bodies when it occurs.

Earlier this year the University’s IACUC self-reported two incidents to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare. The first incident involved a procedure that was performed on mice without IACUC approval and which affected animal welfare. The second incident, which was reported to the USDA, involved the failure to follow a newly-approved IACUC amendment on post-procedural care monitoring for a nonhuman primate, with no resulting impact on animal welfare.   

Corrective action plans were immediately put into place, and all staff in both labs were re-trained. Post-approval monitoring continues to ensure the highest level of animal welfare and compliance.