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animal welfare & use

Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine's policy is to safeguard and provide for the health, well being and overall welfare of animals used in teaching, research and testing.

Ross Vet follows the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, NRC 2011, 8th Edition, the Animal Welfare Act as implemented by Title 9, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) of the US, the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia (2013), and any published guidance from the government of St. Kitts as guidelines for standards of care and use of animals. All animals used in the education of veterinary students, continuing education of postgraduate veterinarians, and research and testing come under the jurisdiction of the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The fundamental principle on which the animal care and use program is based requires self regulation with oversight. Ensuring the ethical and sensitive care and use of animals in research, teaching, and testing is clearly demonstrated by the well-defined role of the IACUC. Use of animals at Ross Vet must undergo review and approval prior to such use.

The curriculum at Ross Vet provides a wide range of opportunities for hands-on training, which are presented in accordance with the restrictions and requirements set forth above. This curriculum does include dissection of animal cadavers, anesthesia, and survival surgeries on multiple species. Laboratory sessions may involve handling of blood, urine, tissue and fecal specimens obtained from animals or from the local abattoir. The use of animals in teaching undergoes regular review and modifications are made from time to time to ensure both academic rigor and appropriate handling of animals. Ross Vet offers only one course of study and curriculum to all students. Therefore, all students will be expected to participate in the handling of specimens and surgeries described.

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine reviews protocols involving the use of animals for research or teaching at RUSVM. The goal of the committee is to ensure that the use of animals at Ross Vet is always humane and appropriate.

The IACUC follows the three "R's" of animal use and promotes these rules on the Ross Vet campus.

Reduce the number of animals used to the minimum required to meet the goals of the course, experiment, or wet lab.

Refine protocols to minimize animal stress, pain, or suffering.

Replace animal models with non-animal alternatives whenever possible.

Prior to the use of an animal in activities on the Ross Vet campus, including teaching, research or wet labs sponsored by student organizations, the IACUC must review the usage protocol and grant approval to the requesting group.

The committee meets approximately once a month during the regular semester to review protocols. Protocols are valid for a maximum of three years but must be reviewed yearly by the IACUC. After three years, when the protocol expires, a de novo resubmission is required for review and approval.

Wet labs have an additional cover sheet, to ensure that arrangements have been made for facilities, use of teaching animals, and for a Ross Vet faculty member to be present at the lab. As part of Reduction, no protocols will be considered that substantially duplicate procedures taught as part of the regular Ross Vet curriculum.

Timeline for Protocol Submission and Review

Submission deadline for IACUC protocols - 15th of the month.

Revision of protocols - 25th of the month.

Committee meetings -1st week of the following month.