Reporting Animal Welfare Concerns and Complaints at Ecosystems Mission Area, USGS:
The Ecosystems Mission Area (EMA) is committed to performing animal research in a humane and compliant manner. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) requires that research institutions have “…methods whereby deficiencies in animal care and treatment are reported, including deficiencies in animal care and treatment reported by any employee of the facility." No facility employee, Committee member, or laboratory personnel shall be discriminated against or be subject to any reprisal for reporting violations of any regulation or standards under the Act.
Animal welfare is taken seriously by EMA. Should EMA staff, any personnel participating in animal research, or members of the public:
- have concerns regarding noncompliance with the policies, rules, regulations and laws regarding animal care and use for research, teaching and training in any EMA Science center;
- witness or be involved in incidents that can impact the welfare of vertebrate animals during research activities by EMA;
- have concerns about the conduct of personnel handling vertebrates during research activities in EMA; or
- see animals that appear to be in pain/distress following use in research activities in EMA centers.
EMA encourages reporting animal welfare concerns. Federal law prohibits discrimination against or reprisal for whistleblowers. Reports may be made anonymously, or you may ask for confidentiality.
The following instructions and procedures are approved for reporting and following up on all animal care and use concerns:
- For EMA staff, any personnel participating in animal research with immediate animal welfare concerns should be report to the local Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Reporting an incident of suspected non-compliance or mistreatment of animals will initiate an investigation. Findings and recommendations are reported to the Institutional Official and subsequently to the Ecosystems Mission Area.
- For members of the public, non-urgent animal welfare concerns or concerns that have not been addressed by local IACUC, a report can be made to the EMA at Animalwelfare_complaints@usgs.gov.
All attempts will be made to protect complainant’s anonymity, but investigative process may require collection of personal information or additional incident details that might disclose/reveal the identity of the complainant or other involved. Federal law prohibits discrimination against or reprisal for whistleblowers.