Nebraska animal care program earns reaccreditation
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has achieved reaccreditation of its animal care program by Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International, a leading nonprofit organization established to ensure high standards of laboratory animal care and use.
Nebraska is one of the more than 980 AAALAC-accredited organizations worldwide. To achieve this status, an institution must not only comply with laws regulating the use of animals in research but also make extra efforts to achieve animal care excellence.
“(This) accreditation is the ‘Good Housekeeping’ seal of approval for the university,” said Kelly Heath, director and attending veterinarian for Nebraska’s Institutional Animal Care Program, part of the Office of Research and Economic Development. “It’s great for recruiting and opens the door for collaboration between institutions.”
Heath led the animal care team through the rigorous reaccreditation process, which occurs every three years. It requires updating the self-evaluative report submitted for original accreditation and guiding AAALAC representatives through a three- to four-day on-site evaluation of the institution’s animal care and use program.
Peer reviewers document findings from the site visit, and the AAALAC International Council on Accreditation considers this report, along with the institution’s self-report, in deciding whether to grant reaccreditation.
The university first earned full accreditation in 2014. In its letter affirming Nebraska’s reaccreditation, which covers all 16 university-affiliated animal care sites across the state, the council commended Nebraska’s institutional commitment to its animal care program and the engaged staff members who provide day-to-day animal care.
“Our animal caretakers in facilities across the state do an outstanding job,” Heath said. “Their passion and professionalism really show through during the site visits, and we wouldn’t be accredited without them.”
AAALAC International, established in 1965, offers the only international accreditation for animal care and use programs. The voluntary process is part of the organization’s efforts to promote research advancement, education and the humane treatment of animals in science.