On May 21st, the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) made an exciting announcement that it is updating the reporting period for the Annual Report in order to harmonize with the Annual Report required for the USDA (NOT-OD-20-109). This is a direct outcome of the 21st Century Cures Act (21CCA) and, notably, it is the first of the 21CCA recommendations for the NIH, USDA, and FDA regarding laboratory animals to be implemented.
The 21CCA, enacted in 2016, in part directed the NIH, USDA, and FDA to assess and adjust applicable regulations and policies related to laboratory animals “to reduce administrative burden on investigators while maintaining the integrity and credibility of research findings and protection of research animals” (NOT-OD-20-109).
Specifically, here is how the adjustment will be implemented:
- The 2020 reporting period will be a partial year — January 1 to September 30.
- The Annual Report will be due to OLAW by December 1, 2020.
- Starting in 2021, the reporting period will be October 1 to September 30, which coincides with the federal fiscal year and the USDA annual reporting period.
- The report will continue to be due by December 1 of each year.
While this update to the reporting period of the Annual Report to OLAW doesn’t significantly impact investigators directly, it is motivating that the NIH has begun to implement recommendations detailed in their final report, Reducing Administrative Burden for Researchers: Animal Care and Use in Research.
The Annual Report to OLAW doesn’t include animal numbers, but the USDA report does. If your organization uses TOPAZ Elements, this change doesn’t affect the way you typically run your reports on animal usage as the USDA reporting period hasn’t changed and the date range on the Elements report is already an adjustable field.
If you have questions, we recommend you contact your IACUC Office or our customer support team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also recommend reviewing the Notice of Update to the Reporting Period of the Annual Report to OLAW (NOT-OD-20-109) and taking a look at OLAW’s Annual Report webpage.