The goal of this policy is to minimize the number of live biohazardous animals that are removed from the vivarium and to ensure that IBC-approved transfers are conducted properly. Removal of biohazardous animals from the vivarium increases the potential for escape of the animals and resultant loss of containment, either during transport or during any procedures that will take place in a non-vivarium facility. There is also the concern that any non-vivarium facilities to which biohazardous animals may be taken may not meet the containment requirements for the designated Animal Biosafety Level (ABSL). Other issues to consider when transporting biohazardous animals out of containment include the risk of spills in public areas; proper disposal of dirty cages, carcasses and other waste; animal welfare and security issues; and exposure of individuals to laboratory animal allergens.
The specific containment level criteria that must be met for all destination locations are outlined in Section V of the CDC/NIH Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) and Appendix G of the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines).
This policy applies to live animals that fall under the purview of the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) and are housed at ABSL2 or higher containment.
Transfers must be performed in accordance with the EH&S SOP titled “Biohazardous Animal: Transport” or other IBC-approved SOP. If animals are euthanized at the destination location, carcasses must be disposed of in accordance with the EH&S SOP titled “Biohazardous Animal: Disposal” or other IBC-approved SOP. In all cases, the source location and destination location must be documented and approved in the Principal Investigator’s Biological Use Authorization (BUA) prior to the transfer taking place.
Transfer between vivaria:
Animals may be transferred between vivaria when the destination location meets the containment level requirements approved by the IBC for those animals. This type of transfer does not require submission of scientific justification to the IBC and must be performed by DLAM staff unless other arrangements have been made in advance with DLAM.
Example: Animals that have been approved by the IBC for containment at ABSL2 are being transferred to an approved ABSL2 (or higher) vivarium.
Transfer to laboratory or other non-vivarium facility:
Biohazardous animals (i.e., those contained at ABSL2 or above) may not be transferred to a laboratory or other facility unless the IBC deems this transfer to be scientifically justified. Examples of scientific justification include the need for large or specialized equipment that cannot be transported to the vivarium.
These requests must be documented in the Operations and Procedures page of the Principal Investigator’s BUA. The IBC will review the scientific justification provided for such transfers and determine if the justification is adequate. The review will be performed by either the Full Committee or a Designated Member Reviewer, depending on the materials that are used.
Example: Animals that have been approved by the IBC for containment at ABSL2 are being transferred to the PI’s laboratory for euthanasia and necropsy.
- ARC Policy on Transporting Animals in Public Access Areas and Off Campus
- CDC/NIH Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL)
- EH&S SOP “Biohazardous Animal: Disposal”
- EH&S SOP “Biohazardous Animal: Transport”
- NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines)