Teaching & Research Animal Care Support Service (TRACSS)
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).
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 Rís of Research: Reduction, Replacement, Refinement
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Adherence to the Guide for the Care & Use
of Agricultural Animals for species not addressed in the
- Compliance with the guidelines provided by
States Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals used in Testing, Research and
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Employment of licensed Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians for direct veterinary treatments
and animal care.
- 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.