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Information for Investigators

Application for Vertebrate Animal Use—Instructions

As you complete this Application, please be aware that copies of completed applications may be released to the public under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. If there is a request for your application, you will be notified prior to release. If you should receive inquiries from the public concerning your project, please contact the current chairperson of the Hope College Animal Care and Use Committee.


College policy and federal law require a review of projects for humane treatment and judicious and safe use of vertebrate animals. At Hope College, the review is conducted by the Hope College Animal Care and Use Committee (HCACUC).

Principal investigators and course instructors must obtain approval from HCACUC before initiating any research, testing or instructional project involving the use of vertebrate animals. (The U.S. Public Health Service requires verification of HCACUC approval of animal care and use within 60 days after submission of an application or proposal.) HCACUC does not review projects for scientific merit except as the question of merit bears on humane treatment or safe use of the animals. HCACUC's principal areas of concern are housing and husbandry, health status of animals, veterinary medical care, measures to minimize pain or discomfort, and the adequacy of training or experience of the personnel using the animals.


In Item 1 of the following Form, investigators and course instructors are requested to categorize their use of vertebrate animals on the basis of the discomfort or pain involved. HCACUC has designated three categories:

  • (A) Procedures involve little or no discomfort or pain;
  • (B) Procedures may result in some discomfort or pain, but of short duration;
  • (C) Procedures may result in significant discomfort or pain.

Consideration should be given to methods that result in a lesser degree of unavoidable pain or discomfort, and use of the smallest number of animals consistent with accomplishing the scientific or educational objectives. Examples of procedures in each category are given below.

Category A:Procedures that involve little or no discomfort or pain. Procedures that if carried out in human subjects would not require anesthesia or analgesia, such as subcutaneous or intramuscular injections or withdrawal of blood; behavioral testing that does not involve restraint or exposure to noxious stimuli; studies conducted on completely anesthetized animals which do not regain consciousness; standard methods of euthanasia that result in rapid loss of consciousness and death; studies that do not produce significant abnormal physiological or behavioral states.

Category B: Procedures that may result in some discomfort or pain, but of short duration. Procedures that can be performed humanely under local anesthesia, such as exposure of superficial blood vessels or simple passage of catheters; surgical procedures under general anesthesia that could result in functional deficit or post-operative pain or discomfort that is limited to the immediate post-operative period; physiological or behavioral studies of conscious animals that may involve short-term restraint; food or water deprivation for moderate periods; exposure to noxious stimuli from which escape is possible; short-term social isolation or crowding. Humane concerns in this category relate to the degree and duration of unavoidable pain or discomfort.

Category C: Procedures that may result in significant discomfort or pain. Major surgical procedures under anesthesia that could result in substantial post-operative pain, discomfort, or functional deficit; exposure to noxious stimuli from which escape is impossible; prolonged physical restraint; imposition of significant behavioral stress; prolonged deprivation of food or water.

An application must be approved for all research, testing, or instructional projects. Approved applications are valid for the specified project period or three years, whichever is less. HCACUC approval must be obtained prior to significant changes in approved protocols. Significant changes are those that potentially affect the level of pain or discomfort that the animals might experience.

Normally, HCACUC will review Applications within 30 days of receipt. In conjunction with the start of a project, an approval number will be assigned. No project involving the use of vertebrate animals may be initiated without an approval number. The number must accompany all requisitions for procurement of animals. It also must be obtained for projects where animals are not directly purchased (e.g. wild trapping, donated, in-house breeding, obtained from other laboratories or other noncommercial sources). Only those species that are listed in the approved application may be procured.

HCACUC has available a repository of information on anesthetic, analgesic and tranquilizer agents, laws and standards, and other aspects of the humane care and use of animals. The USPHS Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals are available from HCACUC on request.

Consultation or assistance on matters related to this application is available from the current chairperson of the HCACUC, to whom the completed application should be submitted.


(Adapted from US Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training)

  • The transportation, care and use of animals should be in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act and other applicable federal and state laws, guidelines, and policies.
  • Procedures involving animals should be designed and performed with due consideration of their relevance to human or animal health, the advancement of knowledge, or the good of society.
  • The animals selected for a procedure should be of an appropriate species and quality and the minimum number required to obtain valid results. Methods such as mathematical models, computer stimulation and in vitro biological systems should be considered.
  • Proper use of animals, including the avoidance or minimization of discomfort, distress, and pain when consistent with sound scientific practices, is imperative. Unless the contrary is established, investigators should consider that procedures that cause pain or distress in human beings may cause pain and distress in other animals.
  • Procedures with animals that may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress should be performed with appropriate sedation, analgesia, or anesthesia. Surgical or other painful procedures should not be performed on unanesthetized animals paralyzed by neuromuscular blocking agents.
  • Animals that would otherwise suffer severe or chronic pain or distress that cannot be relieved should be painlessly killed at the end of the procedure or, if appropriate, during the procedure.
  • The living conditions of animals should be appropriate for their species and contribute to their health and comfort. Normally the housing, feeding, and care of all animals used for biomedical purposes must be directed by a veterinarian or other scientist trained and experienced in the proper care, handling, and use of the species being maintained or studied. In any case, veterinary care shall be provided.
  • Investigators and other personnel shall be appropriately qualified and experienced for conducting procedures on living animals. Adequate arrangements shall be made for their in-service training, including the proper and humane care and use of laboratory animals.
  • Where exceptions are required in relation to the provisions of these Principles, the decisions should not rest with the investigators directly concerned but should be made, with due regard to Principle II, by an appropriate review group such as an institutional animal research committee. Such exception should not be made solely for the purpose of teaching or demonstration.