Flocks and herds of agricultural animals are often maintained by agricultural schools to teach husbandry, production, and showmanship. Animals used for these practices are not covered by the PHS Policy (unless supported by PHS) or the AWRs. However, research procedures (e.g., in vitro fertilization), should have committee review. IACUCs charged with reviewing the use of animals in activities with agricultural applications will find A Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Agriculture Research and Teaching useful in conducting their evaluation.
References Boschert, K. Oct. 1993. An overview of animal use alternatives in veterinary education.Lab Animal 22 (10) p. 36-42. Nature Publishing Company. New York, N.Y.
Kahler, Susan C. March 15, 2000. Laboratories terminated, but lessons learned. JAVMA, Vol. 216, No. 6,
Smith, A., R. Fosse, D. Dewhurst, and K. Smith. 1997. Educational simulation models in the biomedical sciences. ILAR Journal 38 (2) p. 82-88. Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources, National Research Council. Washington, D.C.
Ungar, K. and D.C. Anderson. Summer 1994. An inventory of databases and other sources of information on alternatives to the use of animals in science education. Johns Hopkins Cent. Altern. Animal Test. The Center 11 (3) p. 12-18. Baltimore, MD.
Use of animals in medical education. Aug. 14, 1991. JAMA 266 (6):836-837. The Association. Chicago, Ill.
White, K.K., L.G. Wheaton, and S.A. Greene. Winter 1992. Curriculum change related to live animal use: A four-year surgical curriculum.J Vet Med Educ Vol. 19 (1):6-10. The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. Blacksburg, Va.
Surgical procedures are a common component of animal research activi-ties, and IACUCs are often called upon to assess the details of these procedures. Further, the IACUC is responsible for determining that personnel are qualified and trained in the procedures to be performed.
Definitions Major surgery: Penetrates and exposes a body cavity or produces sub-stantial impairment of physical or physiologic functions
Minor surgery: Does not expose a body cavity and causes little or no physical impairment.
Survival surgery: The animal awakes from surgical anesthesia
Non-survival surgery: The animal is euthanized before recovery from anesthesia.
Reviewing Protocols for Surgical Procedures
Some of the aspects of a surgical procedure that the IACUC reviews are:
details of the procedure (e.g., the actual procedure itself, pre- and post-operative care, aseptic technique, sequence of multiple procedures);
appropriateness of the species for the procedure proposed;
qualifications of the personnel performing the surgical procedures;
species-specific and procedure-specific facility requirements;
patient monitoring practices in the surgical and post-surgical periods; and
personnel occupational health and safety issues.
The veterinarian should always be one of the IACUC’s primary sources of information on surgery and post-operative issues. Other sources include the AWRs (9 CFR 2.31(d)(1) (ix) and (x)), the PHSPolicy, the Guide, and other publications referenced at the end of this section. While the numerous references available provide background and a basis for reviewing surgical protocols, the IACUC relies on professional judgment to review the unique situations surrounding surgery in an experimental setting. Surgical procedures performed in a research setting have review requirements that may be different from those in a routine veterinary clinical setting.
Some of the surgical procedures proposed in research are experimental and may require ongoing review by the IACUC as the procedure is developed. Model development protocols, and close collaboration with the veterinarian and other experienced individuals, can be helpful in these circumstances.
To perform a meaningful review, the IACUC must be provided with details of proposed surgical procedures. Such details give the IACUC the opportunity to assess the level of the investigator’s knowledge and need for additional training.
Multiple Major Survival Surgery (MMSS) The Guide discourages multiple major survival surgery. The AWRs state that animals may not be used in these procedures unless:
there is a scientific justification (e.g., related components of the same study) provided by the principal investigator in writing;
the MMSS are required as a routine veterinary procedure or to protect the health and well-being of the animal, as determined by the attending veterinarian; or
under other special circumstances which have been approved by the Administrator of APHIS.
The Guide suggests that reasons for MMSS may include procedures that are related components of a research project, procedures that will conserve scarce animal resources, or procedures conducted for clinical reasons. The Guide precludes cost savings as the sole justification for MMSS. Subsequent to approval of MMSS, the IACUC should ensure that there is sufficient ongoing oversight of the project.
Special Considerations Some procedures are difficult or impossible to perform in some species of animals due to the nature of the animal (e.g., anatomical variation such as lack of a gall bladder, size of the animal, or size of a particular organ; sensitivity to antibiotics; or tolerance to a particular procedure). This can be an issue when a protocol involves an established procedure in a new animal model. Such protocols require particular attention and guidance from the IACUC.
If a procedure may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress, the AWRs prohibit the use of paralytics without concurrent anesthesia.
Some procedures may require specialized facilities to ensure their success. For example, major survival surgery in non-rodents requires dedicated surgical facilities. Details of such physical requirements can be found in the Guide. The IACUC should assess the availability of necessary facilities during the protocol review process.