TRACSS: Teaching & Research Animal Care Support Service

The Teaching and Research Animal Care Support Services (TRACSS) are responsible for the day-to-day care and housing of all live, College-owned animals involved in teaching and research projects. TRACSS also provides the policies and guidelines to assure compassionate, progressive animal care and use while ensuring compliance with Federal law and regulatory agency policies (e.g. NIH, USDA).

Additional TRACSS policies, guidelines, and resources are available for college members on our college intranet.

Mission Statement

TRACSS is a team of highly trained individuals dedicated to the humane care and use of teaching and research animals. Our strength and success is a result of our commitment to maintain the highest quality animal care program and to serve as a resource center for investigators and instructors. We strive to provide a standard of care that is second to none and results in the best possible quality of life for all College-owned animals. TRACSS adheres to the 4 R’s of Research: Reduction, Replacement, Refinement and Responsibility.

Assurance of the Animal Care Programs

TRACSS and Virginia Tech have a long-standing commitment and dedication to ensure a high quality animal care program. This includes active participation in both federally required and voluntary oversight programs to ensure the highest professional standards. These include:

  1. Oversight by the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC) of Virginia Tech which regulates animal care and use as well as compliance with regulations and guidelines. All personnel in the VMRCVM who handle animals must complete tri-yearly training concerning their roles and responsibilities regarding the IACUC and animal use in teaching and research.
  2. Voluntary participation in the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC). This process provides an independent peer review of internal programs and processes, and helps us benchmark our quality of care and responsible animal use in biomedical research and teaching at Virginia Tech. The VMRCVM was awarded Full Accreditation by AAALAC International on October 24, 2008 (AAALAC accreditation # 001123). AAALAC conducted a site visit in July 2011 and will issue a report to the Dean by the end of Sept. 2011.
  3. Oversight by the Environmental Health and Safety Services (EHSS) of Virginia Tech with regards to occupational health and safety and our compliance with their regulations and guidelines. All personnel in the VMRCVM who handle animals or their products must enroll in the Occupational Health Assurance Program (OHAP) which is updated yearly.
  4. Adherence to the Guide for the Care & Use of Laboratory Animals as published by the Commission on Life Sciences of the National Research Council (NRC).
  5. Adherence to the Guide for the Care & Use of Agricultural Animals for species not addressed in the Guide.
  6. Compliance with the guidelines provided by United States Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals used in Testing, Research and Training.
  7. Inclusion in the Assurance Statement provided by Virginia Tech to the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) which determines our commitment to quality care and use principles in animal facilitated research and teaching.
  8. Engagement with the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. This policy, is applicable to all PHS-conducted or supported activities involving animals.
  9. Registration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal & Plant Inspection Service (APHIS), Animal Care (AC) as a federally approved research facility. As a registered institution, we receive unannounced inspections from federal veterinarians who review animal care, animal welfare, and adherence to federal regulations.
  10. Utilization of the educational expertise of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) for progressive care and welfare training for TRACSS staff and VMRCVM researchers.
  11. Employment of licensed Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians for direct veterinary treatments and animal care.
  12. Ongoing training of all animal care staff with the goal of ensuring a base of quality animal care while focusing on continually improving care operations.