Transportation of Animals


The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (the Guide, NRC 2011) states: "Careful planning for all types of transportation should occur to ensure animal safety and well-being. The process of transportation should provide an appropriate level of animal biosecurity while minimizing zoonotic risks, protecting against environmental extremes, avoiding overcrowding, providing for the animals' physical, physiologic, or behavioral needs and comfort, and protecting the animals and personnel from physical trauma." (p. 107)

To ensure humane animal handling and protect against disease spread, IACUC/DLAR requires that special provisions be met regarding the transportation of animals between WSU buildings or off campus locations.  Transportation arrangements can be made through DLAR.

IACUC Policy


Movement of animals from a DLAR facility to a laboratory within the same building does not require IACUC approval, but the room to which the animals are transported must be listed in the protocol as a research location.

Transportation of animals between buildings on campus must be included and outlined in the IACUC protocol. Transporting animals to a human patient-care area requires written authorization from the administration of that area.

Transportation of animals to another institution requires coordination between institutions regarding animal health status and IACUC approvals. A health certificate must accompany the animals. For information, contact DLAR Veterinary Technical Services at

IACUC Procedure

General Transportation Principles

1.  During regular business hours, arrangements can be made with DLAR to transport animals free of charge.

2.  Live animals cannot remain outside of approved housing facilities for more than 12 hours unless specifically approved in the IACUC protocol. 

3.  Water bottles must be removed or inverted during transportation and returned to their original position upon arrival to the destination. For transport between building or institutions, animals must be provided with hydrogel, which can be obtained from DLAR.

4.  Rodent cages must have filter tops secured with tape.

5.  The IACUC Space Recommendations Policy and Management of Fighting and Fight Wounds in Mice SOP must be followed during transportation. 

6.  The container must be constructed in a way to avoid injury or escape of the animal and described in the protocol.  Contact DLAR veterinarians for guidance for acceptable containers.

7.  Cages/crates must be covered entirely with a drape.

8.  Transportation of animals exposed to hazards must be done in accordance with procedures established by OEHS and DLAR..

9.  Vehicular transportation:

a.  The use of personal vehicles is discouraged, as it can result in allergen and animal pathogen exposure to the occupant and future occupants of the car. 

b.  The owner of the vehicle used for the transport should be aware of the potential animal allergen exposure and risk to others that may subsequently be passengers in that vehicle.

c.  Animals must be transported in the passenger compartment only. 

d.  The vehicle must provide adequate heating / cooling to maintain a thermoneutral environment for the animal.

e.  The use of public transportation is prohibited.

f.  Cages, in a secondary container, or crates should be placed on a non-porous material (example:  blue diaper pads, vinyl sheet, etc.) within the vehicle to allow for a clean environment and ease of cleaning.

g.  Vehicle must be clean and uncluttered, and other cargo should not be transported in the same area with animal crates.

h.  Crates/cages must be placed away from direct sunlight, and ventilation should not blow directly onto the crate/cage.

i.  Transport crates must be secured in the vehicle in an upright manner.

j.  Drivers must remain with or in the vehicle at all times when animals are on board. 

k.  The most direct route of transport must be taken (i.e. door to door).

l.  Steps must be taken to minimize stress during transportation.

i.  Handle cages gently, do not shake or drop.

ii.  Low noise levels, keep windows closed, do not slam doors, and keep radios off or on very low volume.

m.  Do not smoke in the vehicle or around the cages/crates.

n.  Ensure that crates or cages are not opened or filters breached during the transport.

10.  Pedestrian Transportation:

a.  Cages/crates cannot be stacked during transport.

b.  Appropriate precautions should be taken during inclement weather.

Transportation of rodents from hazardous containment housing (IMPORTANT: hazardous rodents cannot be transported in a vehicle)

1.  Animals removed from the containment room must be placed into a clean cage unit under the Biosafety Cabinet (BSC).

2.  Secure the filter top of the clean cage unit with tape.

3.  Place a dissolvable sticker on the filter top appropriate for the type of hazard present.

4.  Spray the outside of the clean cage with AHP disinfectant prior to removal from BSC.

5.  The cages to be transported must be placed into a secondary container sealed with tape prior to exiting the containment housing space.

a.  If the secondary container is not opaque, the container must be covered with a disposable drape prior to transport outside of vivarium space.

Secondary container suggestions

1.  Plastic bins can be purchased for transportation purposes.

2.  Mice cages can often be placed inside large rat cages.

3.  Clean biohazard bins can be used to transport biologically hazardous rodents. Please note that chemically hazardous animals cannot be transported in biohazard bins.


Approved: December 2012

Revision Approved: 10/2017, 4/2020, 5/2021