Breeding Colony Monitoring

Adopted: November 1, 2016


The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) at the University of Montana endorses the principle of the 3 R's of Russell and Burch: replacement, reduction and refinement. According to the National Research Council booklet “Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals,” 8th Edition, "Reduction involves strategies for obtaining comparable levels of information from the use of fewer animals or for maximizing the information obtained from a given number of animals without increasing pain or distress.  However, the Guide also states, "Refinement and reduction goals should be balanced on a case-by-case basis.”  In this vein, it is the goal of the IACUC to ensure that breeding colonies within Laboratory Animal Resources (LAR) facilities are following breeding strategies that prevent overproduction of progeny that will not be used and thereby necessitate unnecessary euthanasia. 

The purpose of this policy is to identify those circumstances whereby animal breeding is in keeping with the principals of the 3 R’s and the Guide.  Breeding colonies should be established based on need and managed according to principles of animal reduction such as the use of cryopreservation for rodent stocks or strains.

Policy Procedure

Each Principal Investigator (PI) with a breeding protocol will have in place an appropriate management system designed to minimize genetic contamination resulting from mutation and mismating.  In addition, each PI will maintain detailed pedigree records and genetic monitoring records.  

On a monthly basis (starting December 1, 2016), those investigators who maintain a breeding colony will provide a copy of their breeding colony spreadsheet(s) to the manager of the LAR facility. These spreadsheets will include the number and strains of animals being bred, the progeny produced, those allocated to experiments and stock, and animals culled. These spreadsheet copies will be maintained in a master binder in the LAR office for all breeding colonies. If the breeding colony is a USDA-regulated species, an additional copy of the spreadsheet will be placed in the USDA health report binder for easy access for USDA inspection.  The copies of these spreadsheets will be delivered to the facility manager on the first work day of each month without exception.

Note: the policy of quarterly reporting breeders, progeny produced and progeny used for experiments to the IACUC Coordinator will continue as before.