Biomedical research would be impossible without the use of animals. This research benefits not only humans, but also helps in the development of therapies for the animals themselves.
The UofL Animal Care and Use Program was recently reaccredited by AAALAC International, a nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs worldwide. AAALAC administers the voluntary accreditation program that provides participating institutions with an independent, unbiased expert assessment of their animal treatment and facilities. Institutions that meet or exceed applicable standards are awarded accreditation. UofL has been accredited by the organization since 1965.
“There is a strong correlation between the health and well-being of the animals utilized in research and the quality of data generated from the research. Animals that are well cared for and free of distress and pain generate better research data,” said Leslie C. Sherwood, D.V.M., assistant vice president for research services at UofL.
“UofL’s animal care program is the longest running continuously accredited AAALAC program in the world, and was the seventh program accredited by AAALAC,” Sherwood said. “We undergo voluntary site visit assessments every three years, demonstrating our commitment to responsible animal care and use by going beyond the minimum standards required by law, taking extra steps to achieve excellence in animal care.”
At site visits, the AAALAC evaluates facilities and staff for animal health and comfort, compassionate care by staff, facility cleanliness and maintenance, veterinary care, record keeping, the function of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and other criteria.
AAALAC Accreditation shows funding agencies and donors that an institution is committed to the highest quality of responsible animal care and research.
“More than 50 years of accreditation from the AAALAC demonstrates that the University of Louisville is committed to highest quality research practices, including treating the animals in our research studies with care, respect and compassion. Our treatment of these animals also is a reflection of our sense of compassion for people,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A., executive dean of health affairs, dean of the UofL School of Medicine, and the institutional official for the UofL Animal Care and Use Program. “Without the animals in our program, we would be unable to develop and test many improved treatments for the diseases that limit humans’ quality of life.”
Sherwood was named assistant vice president of research services, director of research resources facilities and university attending veterinarian at UofL in July 2018. She joined UofL in 2007 as a clinical veterinarian and became assistant director of research resources facilities in January 2015.