The West Virginia University Animal Science Farm in Morgantown.
The West Virginia University Animal Science Farm in Morgantown.

West Virginia University has earned reaccreditation from the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science.

Animal-related activities are an essential part of WVU’s teaching, research and outreach missions, according to the University’s Office of Research Integrity and Compliance, and help WVU advance the quality of life for people and animals. Research on animal models at WVU have led to medical and scientific breakthroughs.

The AAALAC recently visited campus to review the University’s animal care program and visited sites at the Health Sciences Center, Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute and Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. WVU was last accredited by AAALAC in 2016.

Accreditation through AAALAC is voluntary, however, research units must meet applicable local and national regulations and demonstrate they’re achieving standards outlined in the National Research Council’s Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, which goes above and beyond what is required by law.

“The Council commends you and the staff for providing and maintaining an excellent program of laboratory animal care and use,” states a letter from Andrew Grady, president of the council on accreditation, AAALAC, to Deyanira Santiago, director of the WVU Office of Animal Welfare. “Therefore, full accreditation shall continue.”

Fred King, WVU’s vice president for research, welcomed the news.

“I think of accreditation as a strong indication of our commitment to the responsible use of animals in the research laboratory and classroom,” King said. “AAALAC accreditation is held in such regard by the National Institutes of Health that it is accepted in lieu of a more extensive description of our program that would be required with every grant application.

“Earning reaccreditation reflects the professionalism that our researchers and staff exhibit daily in executing our program and representing our university.”