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. See DLAR Campus Animal Transport Form.
  2. Live animals cannot remain outside of approved housing facilities for more than 12 hours unless specifically approved in the IACUC protocol. 
  3. Cages/secondary containers cannot be stacked during transport. Any exceptions must be approved by the IACUC.
  4. Water bottles must be removed or inverted during transportation and returned to their original position upon arrival to the destination. For transport between buildings or institutions where transport takes longer than 30 minutes, animals must be provided with hydrogel, which can be obtained from DLAR.
  5. Rodent cages must have filter tops secured with tape.
  6. The IACUC Space Recommendations Policy and Management of Fighting and Fight Wounds in Mice SOP must be followed during transportation. 
  7. 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.
  8. Cages/secondary container must be covered entirely with a drape or placed within an opaque container.

Vehicular transportation:

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. The personal vehicle must be inspected prior to initial use and semi-annually thereafter. Only one driver and vehicle may be designated for transport of animals on the protocol (exceptions require IACUC approval).
  4. Animals must be transported in the passenger compartment only. 
  5. Cages must be placed within a secondary container and cannot be stacked within the secondary container. Any exceptions must be approved by the IACUC.
  6. The vehicle must provide adequate heating / cooling to maintain a thermoneutral environment for the animal.
  7. The use of public transportation is prohibited.
  8. Cages, in a secondary container, 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.
  9. Vehicle must be clean and uncluttered, and other cargo should not be transported in the same area with animals or secondary containers.
  10. Secondary containers/cages must be placed away from direct sunlight, and ventilation should not blow directly onto the secondary container/cage.
  11. Transport (secondary) containers must be secured in the vehicle in an upright manner.
  12. Drivers must remain with or in the vehicle at all times when animals are on board. 
  13. The most direct route of transport must be taken (i.e. door to door).
  14. Steps must be taken to minimize stress during transportation.
    1. Handle cages gently, do not shake or drop.
    2. Low noise levels, keep windows closed, do not slam doors, and keep radios off or on very low volume.
  15. Do not eat, drink, smoke, or vape in the vehicle or around the cages/secondary containers.
  16. Ensure that cages are not opened or filters breached during the transport.

Pedestrian Transportation:

  1. Cages/secondary containers cannot be stacked during transport. Any exceptions must be approved by the IACUC.
  2. Non-opaque containers, drapes, or coverings must be used during transport.
  3. Appropriate precautions must
  4. be taken during inclement weather.

Transportation Involving Hazardous Animals
      IMPORTANT: Due to Department of Transportation regulations, biologically hazardous animals cannot be transported in a vehicle

  1. Biologically hazardous rodents must be transported on foot, both within and between buildings. Chemically hazardous rodents may be transported by DLAR vehicle or on foot only. DLAR will review chemical hazard transport requests on a case-by-case basis to ensure safety of personnel with transport.
  2. Rodents exposed to biological hazards must be placed into a clean cage under a Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC), prior to being removed from the containment room.
  3. Rodents exposed to chemical hazards must be placed into a clean cage under a Chemical Fume Hood (CFH) or BSC prior to being removed from the containment room.
  4. For rodents exposed to a hazard, secure the filter top of the clean cage unit with tape.
    1. Place a dissolvable sticker on the filter top appropriate for the type of hazard present.
    2. Spray the outside of the clean cage with Accelerated hydrogen peroxide (AHP) disinfectant prior to removal from BSC or CFH.
  5. The cages to be transported must be placed into a secondary container sealed with tape prior to exiting the containment housing space.
    1. Plastic bins (e.g., latch top) can be purchased for transportation purposes or mice cages can be placed inside of large rat cages.
    2. Secondary containers must be labeled with the type of hazard (e.g., biological or chemical), the PI's name and contact information.
    3. Biohazard bins can only be used to transport biologically hazardous rodents within a building.
    4. If the secondary container is not opaque, the container must be covered with a disposable drape prior to transport outside of vivarium space. If the drape enters the hazard room, it must be disposable.
  6. Transportation of non-rodent species exposed to a hazard requires prior approval from OEHS.


Approved: December 2012

Revision Approved: 10/2017, 4/2020, 5/2021, 5/2022, 10/2022, 2/2023