As a general matter, employees with concerns about possible animal welfare violations are encouraged to bring them forward. Employees are protected by law against retaliatory action by the College, so long as the employee has brought the matter to the attention of a supervisor by written notice and has given the College a reasonable opportunity to correct the activity, policy, or practice. The IACUC recommends that Amherst College employees with concerns or complaints about animal use first try to resolve their concerns by talking with their supervisor.
In addition, anyone with concerns can bring allegations of non-compliance involving animals to the IACUC, the Attending Veterinarian, or the Institutional Official (IO). Confidentiality will be maintained if requested by the complainant to the extent allowable by law. A complaint need not be addressed directly to the IACUC although any allegation of non-compliance will eventually reach the IACUC Chair. The IACUC will also investigate complaints made anonymously.
The IACUC will review all allegations brought to its attention but need not investigate all of them. There are three circumstances when it is likely that the IACUC will become actively involved:
- When an allegation should be, but is not, resolved at a local level
- When a reasonable person would consider that gross mistreatment or noncompliance has occurred (based on the allegation)
- When there are repeated minor instances of noncompliance or mistreatment from the same person or research group
If the allegation is against the IACUC Chair and/or the Attending Vet, the IO will help adjudicate the complaint.