The assessment visit involves an evaluation of the institution’s animal care and use program, the effectiveness of their animal care committee to oversee the program, the welfare of the animals in their charge, and the appropriateness of their animal facilities, practices, and procedures. Assessments are based on CCAC guidelines, policies, and associated documents, and are conducted by CCAC assessment panels.
Assessment visits are normally scheduled every three years. However, the CCAC also conducts unannounced visits when there are specific concerns about an institution’s animal care and use program.
Regular assessment visits are conducted by an assessment panel comprised of at least one scientist, a veterinarian, and a community representative. A CCAC associate director of assessment is present at every assessment visit. All panel members, except for CCAC employees, serve voluntarily and without remuneration, except expenses.
An interim assessment visit is conducted by a CCAC associate director of assessment alone or with one or two peer reviewers, if necessary.
The organization to be certified works with the CCAC throughout the process, beginning at least six to twelve months ahead of their next scheduled visit, walking them through their forms and preparation, and the visit itself, followed by post-visit reporting, and implementation responses.
The approach is consultative to ensure the institution meets the CCAC’s high standards as quickly and efficiently as possible.