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Policy Number: 2003-023-io
Policy Title: Handling and Treatment of Animals
Purpose: The following policy provides detail as to what is considered animal mistreatment. This policy is in addition to the University of Wisconsin System Work Rules for Unclassified and Classified Employees.
Policy: Certain behaviors or actions by an individual towards animals are unacceptable and require immediate action to be taken in addition to the normal disciplinary steps required by the University. Consequences could include immediate denial of access to animals or other immediate remedial action.

NOTE: Violation of this policy is also a violation of Work Rule 1A (Insubordination, including disobedience or failure to carry out assignments or instructions.)

Unacceptable behaviors/actions include but are not limited to:

  • Mistreatment of an animal. This includes any action, physical or psychological, which results in wrongful or abusive treatment causing distress (as demonstrated by species-specific physiological responses) to an animal. Examples include but are not limited to:
    • Deliberately injurying or neglecting an animal
    • Teasing, taunting, or deliberately scaring an animal
    • Unnecessarily shaking a box of rodents
    • Unnecessarily tapping a cage of mice to see them run or make them squeal
    • Unnecessarily staring directly at a macaque
    • Purposefully spraying a macaque with water from a hose
    • Use of unnecessary force
    • Purposeful deviation from protocol to create animal discomfort
  • Knowingly introducing disease into an animal colony.
  • Purposeful disregard for facility standard operating procedures (SOPs) and/or policies related to the health and welfare of the animal colony.
  • Knowingly falsifying data, e.g., temperature/humidity readings, health check records, feeding schedules, cage cleaning logs.
  • Refusal to participate in required training sessions designed to ensure humane treatment of animals.
  • Refusal to participate in required training sessions designed to ensure workplace health and safety for staff involved in animal care duties.

Reporting and investigating incidents of animal mistreatment:

  • Incidents of unacceptable treatment/behavior may be reported with no risk of reprisal as detailed in All-Campus Policy 2003-017-io, "Whistleblower Policy."
  • All incidents of observed or suspected animal mistreatment will be investigated by the relevant School or College Animal Care and Use Committee. On the behalf of the ACUC the Chair may delegate the investigative process to a subcommittee of the ACUC or any other individual(s) that the Chair believes appropriate to conduct the investigation. In cases of delegation, the ACUC still maintains responsibility to assure that the investigation is conducted in an appropriate and legal manner. All investigations and actions involved with issues of animal mistreatment shall be conducted in accordance with appropriate federal, state, and university legal and policy standards. The ACUC will seek out expertise (e.g., Human Resources, Legal Services) to assure investigations and actions are properly conducted.
  • See also policy 1999-008-io, "Noncompliance".
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