IACUC Policy on Photography of Research Animals

Purpose:
This policy is intended to protect the confidentiality and integrity of UConn Health research, to ensure respect for the privacy and safety interests of faculty, staff, and students, and to prevent misleading representation of animal care and use at UConn Health.  This policy describes the permitted use of recording devices in any area where animals are housed, tested, studied, or used at UConn Health (including laboratories).

Action:
The use of any recording device (e.g., film camera, digital camera, camera phone, digital recorder, sound recorder, live streaming equipment) to record sounds or images of animals or animal use areas is prohibited unless one of the following exceptions apply:

1. When performed by the Principal Investigator (PI) or designee and is required for IACUC approved (i.e., University-sanctioned), scientifically justifiable reasons (e.g., behavioral analysis, clinical feature documentation, or laboratory documentation);
2. When performed by the PI or designee for the purpose of recording for instructional activities as described in the IACUC-approved protocol (e.g., behavioral testing recordings);
3. When performed by, or at the direction of, the Attending Veterinarian (AV) for diagnosing or documenting clinical disease, veterinary care, or treatment;
4. When performed by compliance personnel (e.g., IACUC members or office personnel) when required to document condition of facilities, compliance, or animal welfare issues; and
5. When performed by government inspectors (e.g., USDA Veterinary Medical Officer).

UConn Health personnel listed on an approved IACUC protocol who wish to record in animal use areas for reasons not described in the above list of exceptions must have prior approval from the IACUC Chair or AV to perform any photography or recording(s).  It is important that UConn Health personnel recognize that what they perceive as appropriate may not necessarily be seen similarly in the public eye.  Any or all recordings, including photographs, may not be stored on a personal device and may require research IT encryption of computers upon which these files are stored.  The following should be considered:

1. Photography taken for the legitimate purpose of publication in manuscripts, presentations at conferences external to UConn Health, or in any public forum should be appropriate to the intended audience.  Efforts should be made to show appropriate and accurate context when audio or visual recordings are made (e.g., if an animal is anesthetized or sedated, include the anesthetic vaporizer or tray holding the bottle of tranquilizing agent; have personnel wearing required personal protective equipment);
2. Images, audio recordings, or videos of research animals posted to any social media outlet is strictly prohibited;
3. Photograpy taken of research animals for entertainment purposes or for a malicious use is strictly prohibited;
4. For security purposes, every effort should be made to avoid showing identifying landmarks (e.g., building and room numbers, worker’s name badges, cage cards, etc.);
5. The IACUC Chair, Institutional Official, and/or the AV reserve the right to review any recording (audio or visual) prior to release; and
6. Federal or state inspectors are authorized to take photographs of research animals but individuals that accompany these inspectors should ask that the photographs be brought to the exit briefing for review by the Institutional Official or their designee.

If you need to record animals, please contact the IACUC office or contact Alison Pohl.

The widespread use of mobile devices equipped with photographic capabilities (e.g., smart phones, tablets, etc.) permits almost anyone with access to UConn Health animal care and use areas to both legitimately and illegitimately capture and store images of animal subjects.  This policy specifies the conditions under which legitimate photography of animal subjects is permitted within UConn Health animal research areas.  Violation of this policy will be brought to the attention of the IACUC, which will investigate this incident and recommend corrective action with participation from UConn Health Human Resources and the particular Department Head.

References:
The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, 8th Edition (2011)

Effective Dates:    June 2, 2022 through June 30, 2025

This policy has been approved by a majority vote of the IACUC members.