UCSF Achieves Significant Laboratory Animal Care Accreditation

UCSF recently achieved a highly regarded laboratory animal care and use accreditation from Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International. The accreditation is considered the gold standard for animal care facilities and is given to institutions exhibiting the highest level of humane care and use of animals in research. The voluntary accreditation involved an extensive internal review by UCSF officials, followed by a review by AAALAC evaluators, who are animal care and use professionals and researchers from around the globe. The AAALAC assessors reviewed the internal reports and conducted their own comprehensive assessment. The assessment included all aspects of UCSF's animal care and use program, including procedures used and overall performance. The basic components that were evaluated included institutional policies, animal husbandry, veterinary care and the physical plant. James Wilkerson, JD, DVM, who is serving as interim director of the Laboratory Animal Resource Center at UCSF, explains why it's important that UCSF has received full accreditation. "Many institutions in the country are not accredited," says Wilkerson, who is also a veterinary medical officer at the UCSF-affiliated San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center. "So it really is an institutional credential that certifies UCSF is conducting a top-notch animal research program. "A key point is that this certification concerns the humane care and use of the animals in research. It does not concern the science itself and we already know that UCSF is a leader in this field. For me, it is a peer review process ensuring that we are treating the animals humanely and properly. UCSF's peers from outside the institution have conducted an extensive, full-week program review and site inspection, and judged that UCSF does exercise excellent animal care and humane use." AAALAC International is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs. More than 730 companies, universities, hospitals, government agencies and other research institutions in 30 countries have earned AAALAC accreditation, demonstrating their commitment to responsible animal care and use. These institutions volunteer to participate in AAALAC's program, in addition to complying with the local, state and federal laws that regulate animal research. UCSF adheres to all applicable federal and state laws and regulations, as well as University of California policies, governing the use of animals in research. These include the US Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and the USDA Animal Welfare Act Regulations regarding the care and use of animals in a research setting. Last year, the UCSF animal care facility, known as the Parnassus Services Building, was named Facility of the Year by the publishers of Animal Lab News. The new building is considered a huge improvement over the two previous animal facilities and in many ways exceeds industry standards. Animal research has paved the way for many medical advances of the last century, and continues to advance UCSF's understanding of cancer, heart disease, chronic pain and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. UCSF is deeply committed to providing responsible, humane care for its research animals. Read more about animal research and care at UCSF here. Related Links: Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) Accreditation Program UCSF Animal Research Building Named Facility of the Year
UCSF Today, April 16, 2006 The UCSF Office of Research: Animal Research and Care