The Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International Council on Accreditation identified several gaps in our program during its July 2014 site visit that we are required to address in order to maintain accreditation, which is mandated by the Regents. Two of these items – failure to adequately justify non-social housing of social species, and insufficient veterinary oversight of PI-managed housing areas (i.e., study areas) – were the subject of previous correspondence from this office.
The accompanying new policy, Tracking and Reporting Animal Numbers, addresses the third major AAALAC concern: absence of a mechanism by which the ARC ensures that investigators do not use animals in excess of the number approved in their protocols.
AAALAC is requiring us to develop a system for counting and tracking animals that investigators 1) obtain from UCLA breeding protocols, 2) capture or study in the wild, or 3) purchase directly from a supplier independent of DLAM.
If you only order your experimental animals through DLAM, then you are NOT required to take any action under this Policy (these animals are tracked automatically). If, however, your animal use falls under any of the Alternative Source categories described in the Policy, you are asked to provide a report to the ARC, via the Office of Animal Research Oversight, as described in the Policy. There are two instances when reports must be provided:
- At the time animals are caught/procured and brought to campus.
This applies to PIs that capture animals in the wild and bring them back to campus, as well as those PIs that procure non-traditional species from vendors without the assistance of DLAM. The report should identify the species, number of animals by category, and protocol(s) under which animals are held/used. This report is due as soon as possible after animals are brought to UCLA.
- Annually, for the period October 1-September 30. This applies to PIs identified above, plus all PIs that hold active breeding protocols. The report should identify the species, number of animals by category (i.e., offspring transferred to experimental protocols versus those euthanized without undergoing experimental procedures or used only for breeding), and experimental protocol(s) to which animals are transferred (if applicable). As some investigators provide animals from their breeding protocols to a large number of labs, and other investigators do not directly manage their colonies, we encourage you to maintain a file of these transfers for ease of reporting.
The ARC understands the additional burden this tracking and reporting places on the research community. We hope that the online RATS replacement project, due to kick-off by late summer 2015 and with implementation expected in 2016, will help alleviate this burden. In the meantime, we ask for your patience and understanding as we take steps to maintain our long-term accreditation with AAALAC.
Please contact OARO (email@example.com or 310-206-6308) with your questions and concerns.
 Due to the time-point at which this Policy was approved, the 2015 report should cover only the last 6 months of the period (i.e., April 1-September 30, 2015). Subsequent reports must cover the full 12 month period.