What We Do

The City of Cambridge is unique compared to most cities concerning laboratory animals because:

  • There is considerable biomedical research being conducted in the city.
  • The city’s ordinance provides oversight of research activities involving animals beyond the standard federal regulations.

Oversight is performed by the Commissioner, who has the authority to review the animal care and use programs of biomedical research facilities in the city. This extensive review process involves the evaluation of standard housing and handling, experimental protocols, and mechanisms to ensure proper veterinary care and humane use throughout an animal’s time in a facility. This occurs through a facility inspection, review of program documentation, and conversations with the facility’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee members, who are responsible for reviewing and approving proposed animal use at an institution.

Depending on the results, the Commissioner may decide to:

  • Provide a commendation or acknowledgement that the program is operating in a manner that aligns well with applicable laws and documents.
  • Provide advice and education in a collaborative manner to institutions if their program can be improved and provide deadlines for corrections if required.
  • Issue fines if there is evidence of egregious violations of applicable laws and documents.

The Commissioner reviews each institution’s animal care and use programs at least once a year. Additional physical visits may be required depending on the results of the initial program review. Permits are issued once the Commissioner is satisfied that the institution is following the proper federal guidance.

The Commissioner, a board-certified Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM), is not aligned with animal rights organizations or biomedical research organizations. The Commissioner keeps current on the most up-to-date scientific literature and continuing education offered by the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) and ACLAM in order to provide the best advice and education to research institutions.

Updated: August 24, 2022