University receives reaccreditation for animal research

April 22, 2011 | Research, UToday
By Ashley Traynum

The Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC) has granted The University of Toledo continued full accreditation.

The reaccreditation process is the culmination of four years of work after the merger of UT and The Medical University of Ohio.

“For some, animal research is a controversial topic. This reaccreditation demonstrates not only the University’s commitment to the humane treatment of animals, but it provides an independent assessment of our procedures and practices,” said Dr. Phillip Robinson director of the UT Department of Laboratory Animal Resources.

The Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs. When animals are used, the association works with institutions and researchers to serve as a bridge between progress and animal well-being. To achieve reaccreditation, research programs demonstrate that they meet the minimum standards required by law and also are going the extra step to achieve excellence in animal care and use.

“The council commends you and the staff for providing and maintaining an exemplary program of laboratory animal care and use across the entire University,” Dorcas O’Rourke, president of the AAALAC Council on Accreditation, wrote in a letter to Robinson.

The letter acknowledged the leadership of the department, excellent maintenance and innovative repurposing of older facilities, hands-on and personalized training, first-rate sanitation and more.

“AAALAC accreditation shows that we hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards of animal care and use. We hold ourselves accountable to our peers who conducted the accreditation process, but more importantly we hold ourselves accountable to the general public,” said Dr. James Trempe, UT senior director of research administration. “Most people support biomedical research if it is conducted humanely and in a manner that would improve the human condition. AAALAC accreditation affirms our accountability.”

The AAALAC accreditation process was different than those in past years. The Health Science Campus program has been accredited since the 1980s; however, this recent reaccreditation evaluation added all animal research programs involving vertebrate animals affiliated with Main Campus. The University now has campus-wide AAALAC accreditation, which also includes the environmental sciences, psychology, health science and human services, and the Lake Erie Center

“This is a nice milestone for animal research activities at the University, and we should all be very pleased with the efforts of faculty and staff who have made this possible to achieve,” Robinson said.

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