Policy Number: 2012-048-io
Policy Title: Photography and Videography in UW Animal Use Areas

Purpose: This policy is intended to protect the integrity of UW research and teaching, to protect proprietary information, and to assure respect for the privacy and safety interests of staff and students.

Principal Investigators (PI) and staff who wish to allow filming of research animals for reasons not described below, should communicate their intent to their School or College’s Dean’s Office or University Communications. These communication groups can help guide the process to ensure the University’s public interests are best protected. Reaching out for guidance from communication professionals is highly recommended for photography and filming by outside interests, (e.g., journalists).

POLICY: Use of a recording device (e.g., film camera, digital camera, camera phones, digital recorder, sound recorder) to capture images of UW research animals is prohibited with the following exceptions:

  1. When performed by government inspectors (e.g. USDA Veterinary Medical Officer);
  2. When performed by an authorized PI or designee when required for scientific reasons (e.g., publications, laboratory documentation);
  3. When performed by an authorized PI or designee for the purpose of recording instructional activities covered by an IACUC-approved protocol;
  4. When performed by personnel authorized by research animal veterinary staff when required to assist in clinical management of disease;
  5. When performed by authorized personnel when required to document condition of facilities, or compliance or animal handling issues at the direction of University officials, IACUCs, veterinarians, or representatives of federal agencies;
  6. When reporting concerns related to animal welfare under UW-Madison Animal Program policy 2003-017. Concerns must be reported within 24 hours of the image being captured;
  7. When authorized by the PI for teaching or outreach;
  8. When capturing images of public display animals for teaching or outreach.
Guidance for implementing this policy:

Rights of Individuals

  • Student/staff/faculty who may be photographed in the course of their work should be informed when such activity is imminent.
  • Any individual may decline being photographed, filmed, or recorded and is not required to be subject to recording.
Unintended Distribution of Images
  • Ask visitors to read this policy prior to entering animal facilities or taking photography or other recordings, and add this policy to facility-specific SOPs. This will reduce unintentional exposure of students, staff, and faculty to unwanted attention and harassment or misrepresent the nature of animal activities occurring at UW-Madison.
  • Photographs and video images of animals used in teaching and research are often the target of public records requests. Faculty and staff are encouraged to consult with Legal Affairs prior to creating such photographs or video images.
  • Secure the processing, transport and storage of negatives, disks, tapes, media cards, etc. taken by PIs or lab personnel in the course of their work.
  • Show context in audio or visual recordings (e.g., if an animal is anesthetized or sedated, include the vaporizer or tray holding the bottle of injectable drug; have personnel wearing required personal protective equipment appropriate for the work appear in the image.)
  • For security purposes, don’t show landmarks (e.g. room numbers, workers’ name badges/IDs).


Other campus policies may apply. Please consult https://universityrelations.wisc.edu/policies-and-guidelines/

Author: H.McEntee, B.Daly, I.Girard, E.Sandgren; ACAPAC working group
ePublication Date: 06/20/2012 (orig.)
History: amended 5/2017, 6/2017