Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Animal Research

  • VT's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is the oversight body that approves research on whole, vertebrate animals, and monitors the humane care and use of research animals. Go to the IACUC website for information on policies, laws and regulations related to research with animals, protocol submission and management, training, news and announcements.
  • Protocols for research projects involving animals must be submitted to the IACUC for review and approval, and for periodic renewal.
  • People must complete initial IACUC training before participating in research work with animals, and they must stay current with IACUC refresher training thereafter.
  • Animal research involving recombinant material, transgenic or genetically modified animals, and/or infectious agents falls within the purview of the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). Protocols for research projects of this type must be submitted to the IBC (in addition to IACUC) for review, approval, and periodic renewal, and people must complete IBC-required training before performing research with infectious agents or recombinant material.
  • See table below for more details:
Research ScopeVT Entity That Gives Approval & Oversees Compliance
Involving animals in a research setting or in the wild where no genetic manipulation or infection with biohazardous agents has occurredIACUC
Involving animals in a research setting or in the wild (incl. cages/bedding, nests/dens, waste products, etc.) where hazards for humans and/or other animals exist (exposure to infectious/zoonotic agents, venoms, biotoxins), and/or biohazardous material is collected and manipulatedIACUC, IBC
Involving research animals experimentally infected with infectious agentsIACUC, IBC
Involving research animals used for testing viable recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecule-modified microorganismsIACUC, IBC
Involving research animals whose genomes have been altered by stable introduction of rDNA or synthetic nucleic acid molecules, or nucleic acids derived therefrom have been introduced into the animals' germ lineIACUC, IBC
Primary Hazards In Animal ResearchSafety Considerations In Animal Research
Injury and possible infectious exposure from:
  • animals bites/ scratches.
  • accidental injury with needle/scalpel used on an animal.
  • large animals kicking, stomping, head-butting, etc.
Reduce or eliminate the risk to health and safety of the people working with animals by:
  • Using safe, effective restraint and anesthesia methods on animals when needed.
  • Avoiding inhalation risks and production of aerosols.
  • Utilizing sharps with safety features and disposing of sharps appropriately.
  • Using good work practices and appropriate PPE.
Exposure to animal allergens creating risk of allergy development, or serious allergic reaction in those with preexisting allergies. Contain allergens by using filtered cages, animal transfer stations, respiratory protection, Personal Protective Equipment, and good animal handling practices.
Escape of infected or transgenic animals from containment. Give priority to the safety, security and care of the animals you work with, as well as animals living with them or near them.
Animal-generated aerosols (from bedding, dander, saliva, sprayed or flung excreta, etc.) creating exposure hazards to infectious agents, recombinant material or excreted chemicals. Employ proper
  • containment equipment/practices
  • animal handling practices
  • waste handling practices
  • appropriate PPE
to avoid aerosols of pathogens, recombinant material/ organisms, chemically contaminated material.

Animal Biosafety Levels

  • See 'Biosafety Levels' in this website's topics list.

Shipping Animals

  • Contact IACUC, your Animal Facility Manager, and/or the Office of the University Veterinarian.

Guidance and Further Information: