UGA’s Animal Care and Use Program has once again been fully accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International, a nonprofit organization that promotes humane treatment of animals in research and instruction through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs.
Accreditation by AAALAC is the gold standard for quality of animal care and use in research and instruction. Accredited institutions must meet or exceed rigorous standards to ensure the high-quality care and welfare of research animals.
UGA officials were notified in a March 9 letter following an AAALAC site visit last year.
“To be unconditionally re-accredited is a major achievement and a testament to our dedicated and hard-working Animal Care and Use staff, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and the UGA researchers who are privileged to study animal models,” said David Lee, vice president for research. “This reaccreditation affirms and recognizes their collective efforts, and I couldn’t be more proud of their achievement.”
UGA was first AAALAC-accredited in 1993. The accreditation comes up for renewal every three years, each time accompanied by a site visit from AAALAC staff. While on campus they interview animal-care staff, review all records and procedures, and inspect animals and housing facilities at multiple locations around campus. It’s a rigorous, nearly weeklong process.
“The Council commends you and the staff for providing and maintaining a high-quality program of laboratory animal care and use,” read the 2021 letter from Dr. Egeenee Daniels, vice president for AAALAC’s council on accreditation. “Especially noteworthy were the dedicated and engaged personnel at all levels of the program; [and] the excellent animal care, evidenced in part by the appearance of healthy animals throughout all housing facilities.”
“AAALAC accreditation represents the very high value UGA places on animal care and welfare, scientific validity and accountability to our stakeholders,” said Leanne Alworth, director and attending veterinarian in the Office of Animal Care and Use. “We are committed to maintaining AAALAC International accreditation, because we welcome the responsibility that accompanies the privilege of this animal use.”