The Animal Welfare Act and the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals require appropriate identification of animals and maintenance of animal records. Accepted methods of animal identification include room, rack and cage cards (including written IDs and bar code systems); collars and bands; ear notches and tags; implantable microchips; tattoos; and freeze brands. Toe clipping is not considered an acceptable method of identification.
Investigators are responsible for maintaining appropriate records on rodents, bats, birds and ectoderms. Cage or rack cards should indicate, at a minimum, the source of the animal, strain or stock (if pertinent), and names and telephone numbers of responsible investigators, and the protocol reference number. Written records of procedures, drug use, illnesses and injuries, and date of death, euthanasia, or disposition should be noted in separate record books.
DLAM maintains individual clinical records for all rabbits and higher mammals. All animal manipulations and drug use, as well as objective observations on health status, should be recorded by research and animal care personnel.
Animal records must be maintained for 3 years following closure of the protocol and are subject to inspection by the ARC, USDA, NIH site visitors and accrediting bodies, such as AAALAC.