UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

Campus animal facilities earn gold star

– Calling the University of California, Berkeley's animal care and use program "exemplary," the international organization that inspects and accredits facilities that use animals in research has given the campus another gold star.

In a letter sent last week to Beth Burnside, UC Berkeley's Vice Chancellor for Research, Dale G. Martin, president of the Council on Accreditation of the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC), commended the campus for "providing and maintaining an exemplary program of laboratory animal care and use."

Based on an inspection of all the campus's animal care and use facilities on Oct. 2 and 3, 2006, AAALAC awarded the campus another three-year period of full accreditation, the fifth gold star for UC Berkeley since it received its first full accreditation in 1994.

"This is a triumph that is hard-earned and well-deserved," said Burnside, adding that the animal care and use program "is a masterpiece of teamwork and a model for all of us on the campus to emulate."

"Our campus prides itself in being 'first' or 'top-rated' in many categories, and we can add the quality of our animal care and use program to that list," said Richard C. Van Sluyters, professor of optometry and chair of UC Berkeley's Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC), which approves all proposed uses of animals in scientific research and instruction.

Veterinarian Helen Diggs, director of the Office of Laboratory Animal Care (OLAC), credited a 20-year effort to upgrade facilities and improve animal care on the UC Berkeley campus.

"Over the past two decades, there has been an effort on the part of all the players who have a role in (animal care and use) to improve the program," Diggs said. "The program keeps getting better, and this last review outcome was truly superlative."

Van Sluyters served for 12 years as a member of AAALAC's Council on Accreditation and Diggs has just been elected a member. Both have extensive experience evaluating the quality of animal care and use programs at other institutions, and each noted the unusually high level of praise AAALAC heaped upon UC Berkeley following its most recent site visit. In its laudatory letter, AAALAC commended everything from ACUC's staff and committee members to the veterinary and administrative staff and the sanitation and facilities maintenance employees.

According to Diggs, what AAALAC liked "was the obvious team approach and involvement of all the services and departments that make this program work: Environment Health and Safety, University Health Service's Occupational Health office, Physical Plant-Campus Services, the UC Police Department, ACUC, OLAC, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research."

"We are all here to make sure the animals are cared for properly and humanely," she said, "and the fact that AAALAC found us exemplary is a huge kudo for this campus."