- IACUCs derive their authority from federal law. They are mandated by the Health Research Extension Act (HREA) of 1985 and the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) . The laws require the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of an organization to appoint the IACUC.
- Once appointed, IACUCs report to a senior administrator known as the Institutional Official (IO). The IO must have administrative and operational authority to commit institutional resources to ensure compliance with the PHS Policy, the AWA Regulations (AWARs) , and other requirements.
- The IACUC is required to perform semiannual program evaluations as a means of overseeing the animal care and use program. The IACUC advises the IO on the status of the institution’s compliance, establishes plans and schedules for correcting deficiencies, and makes recommendations to the IO regarding any aspect of the institution’s animal program, facilities, or personnel training.
- The IACUC is responsible for reviewing protocols that involve the use of vertebrate animals. The IACUC’s authority to review and approve protocols is independent of the IO who may not overrule an IACUC decision to withhold approval. (The opposite is not true. If the IACUC approves a protocol, the institution is not required or obligated to conduct the activity.) The institution may subject protocols to additional institutional review (e.g., department director, biosafety committee, etc.).