Scientific work at IMP and IMBA depends to a high degree on the use of model organisms. IMP and IMBA acknowledge and accept responsibility for the care and use of those animals according to the highest ethical standards. The institutions ensure that all employees dealing with the animals understand their individual and collective responsibilities for compliance with Austrian laboratory animal act 2012 as well as all relevant regulations and rules concerning laboratory animal husbandries. In accordance with this institutional policy the animal house group - trained and highly qualified animal attendants - provides husbandry of animals and services for the various research groups.
The largest area of the animal house is the mouse section, which comprises breeding colonies, stock and experimental animals including many transgenic and knock-out mouse lines. To provide a constant supply of mice for the various projects, commonly used standard strains are routinely bred in-house. In addition there is an area separated from the mouse husbandry for housing claw frogs (Xenopus laevis).
Comparative Medicine Services
Veterinary services, such as monitoring of the facility’s health-status (sentinel-program etc.),
Providing all animals with accommodation, environment, food, water and care which are appropriate to their health and well-being;
Ensuring that any restrictions on the extent to which an animal can satisfy its physiological and ethological needs are kept to a minimum;
Checking daily the environmental conditions in which animals are bred, kept or used;
Making arrangements to ensure that any defect or avoidable pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm discovered is eliminated as quickly as possible;
Animal procurement, such as ordering of mice from external breeding companies, organizing and handling of incoming and outgoing mouse-shipments;
Administration of official and legal matters in accordance with the Austrian laboratory animal act 2012, which includes record-keeping and updating of laboratory animal statistics, specific documentation of laboratory animal experiments, making of project applications for scientists, submission of applications to authorities, monitoring authorized projects, organization of the animal welfare body etc.
Education and training of animal house users.
Access to the facility
Scientific work with laboratory animals is highly regulated by several laws and provisions. Therefore the facility is subject to continuous control and inspection of the Austrian authorities (veterinary inspectors, ministry etc.). According to Austrian Laboratory Animal Act a proper education in the field of laboratory animal science is a precondition for persons, who intend to work with live laboratory animals. The permission to enter the facility depends on this special knowledge every single user has to show.
Very important: It is the personal decision of any user, whether she/he can offer the necessary skills and education already. From that moment a user enters the animal house on her/his own responsibility for the first time, she/he automatically confirms being able to adhere to the rules and regulations and meeting all requirements for handling mice, running colonies, carrying out procedures in live animals etc. This may be checked by the authorities and a lack of information will not be accepted by them as an excuse for mistakes and errors then. Severe mistakes may lead to the withdrawal of the permission to enter the facility
Access to the IMP IMBA animal house is given on demand of a group leader only (or a named contact person). The group leader confirms, that the scientific project requires work involving live animals.
At latest 14 days after this request access is given (institutional access card has to be given to the new user already) and an email is sent as confirmation together with a short introductory handout.
Group specific training has to be given by experienced members of the group (written records of this training has to be provided for legal reasons).
An about 2-hours introduction course given by the animal facility is mandatory for new users (legal requirement).
Allocation of mouse space
Capacity for housing mice is allocated to scientific groups only - not to single persons. This is done by the steering committee of the animal facility (AUC) - not by the core facility itself. Additional cages for the subsequent year have to be requested at latest by June every year. The additional cages can be made available about in summer of the subsequent year.