Animal Use Policy


Explicit in the College’s mission are the goals of promoting animal health and alleviating animal suffering. In keeping with these goals, the College uses a variety of methods to provide students with essential skills and interactive learning experiences. In the Clinical Skills Learning Center, students use mannequins, models, simulators, and audiovisual tools to learn and practice clinical skills. However, successful completion of the DVM program requires studies of living and non-living animals. Course laboratories and rotations may use cadavers or live animals to teach anatomy, animal handling, restraint, physical examination, or medical or surgical techniques. In all cases, animal use is critically reviewed and approved by the University of Illinois Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The IACUC is comprised of veterinarians, scientists from multiple disciplines, non-scientists, and members of the general public with no link to the University.

Students may choose not to participate in activities that involve invasive procedures or conclude with euthanasia of animals solely for instructional purposes; this decision will not, in itself, impact the student’s grade. The instructor will attempt to identify an alternative method for obtaining the knowledge and skills. Regardless of the method, students are held to the same standards with respect to acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to pass the course.

Responsibilities of the Instructor

  • Submit an IACUC Protocol Review Form to the IACUC office.
  • Justify the use of animals and the number and type of animals required to achieve learning objectives.
  • Assure that any procedure causing more than momentary pain or distress is done under appropriate anesthesia or analgesia.
  • Conduct a thorough alternative search to confirm there are no suitable non-animal alternatives or methods that would reduce the number of animals needed or refine the approach.
  • Assure that animal housing, husbandry, transportation, use, and veterinary care are consistent with the most recent editions of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (National Research Council), the Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching (Federation of Animal Science Societies), and campus animal use policies
  • Assure that all instructional personnel are appropriately trained and have completed the IACUC’s Basic Training Program for Animal Users and Occupational Health and Safety Training.
  • Make the syllabus available to students before the start of the rotation or course and in sufficient detail that students and the instructor have time to identify reasonable alternatives to animal use should they be requested.
  • All courses, including those involving animal use, must be reviewed and approved by the College Courses, Curriculum, and Educational Policy Committee and by the Provost’s Office.

Responsibilities of the Student

  • Read the course or rotation syllabus as soon as it is made available.
  • Contact the course or rotation instructor as soon as possible – no later than the start of the rotation or course – if you think you may choose not to participate in an activity.
  • Work with the instructor to identify a suitable alternative that will permit you to achieve a level of understanding or skill acceptable to the instructor.
  • Do not enroll in elective courses that require animal use if you are opposed to that use. Treat animals humanely and with dignity.
  • Do not post photographs of any animals used in the teaching of courses or clinical rotations on social networking sites or otherwise make them available to the public.
  • Report concerns about animal welfare to the IACUC office or to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research if you are not comfortable discussing them with the instructor or Office of Academic and Student Affairs. All concerns will be investigated.
  • The University’s whistleblower policy prevents retribution for reporting of welfare concerns.

If a suitable alternative to animal use does not exist or is not feasible, a student may opt out of an activity and not receive credit for the experience. However, all students must achieve the minimum level of knowledge and skill required to pass the rotation or course.

Responsibilities of the College

  • The Office of Academic and Student Affairs will work with instructors to post course syllabi in a timely fashion.
  • The Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs will mediate cases where an instructor and student cannot agree on a suitable alternative.
  • Questions about the Animal Use Policy should be addressed to the Office of Academic and Student Affairs.

The Policy for Animal Use in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Program was approved by Faculty on August 18, 2011. Note: the University of Illinois Animal Care and Use Program is accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC,I).