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

Purpose: The following policy describes the allowable use of visual recording in UW-Madison animal use areas. This policy is intended to protect the confidentiality and integrity of UW research, to assure respect for the privacy and safety interests of staff and students, and to prevent misleading representation of UW animal use and related policies and procedures.


  • animal use area - established animal barrier facilities (vivaria), core service facilities, and PI laboratories where animals are housed, tested, or used, and conveyances in which animals are transported between animal use areas

POLICY: The use of any recording device (e.g., film camera, digital camera, camera phones, digital recorder, sound recorder) is prohibited in animal use areas 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 diagnosis 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.

Violation of this policy or any of its parts is also a violation of Work Rule 1A (Insubordination, including disobedience or failure to carry out assignments or instructions).

See UW-Madison Animal Program policy 2012-047 for rules regarding access to animal use areas, including visitor access. PIs who wish to allow filming in animal use areas for reasons not described above must involve facility managers, animal care supervisors, and RARC or WNPRC veterinarians in planning these activities prior to filming. This includes photography or filming by outside interests, e.g., journalists. PIs are also strongly encouraged to work with designated UW-Madison press officers. Designated UW press officers are available to work with investigators who might have photographers or videographers in their labs. Contact your School or College’s Dean’s offices or the University Communications office at 262-3571.

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:
  • Consideration should be given to the secure processing, transport, and storage of negatives, disks, tapes, media cards, etc. taken by PIs or lab personnel in the course of their work.
  • Every effort 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 vaporizer or tray holding the bottle of injectable drug; have personnel wearing required personal protective equipment appropriate for the work appear in the image).
  • Every effort should be made to avoid showing identifying landmarks for security purposes (e.g., room numbers, workers’ name badges/IDs).
  • UW faculty and staff should be mindful of the potential for photographs and video images of animals used in teaching and research to be the target of public records requests. In some circumstances, such photographs or video images may be accessible to members of the public under Wisconsin’s Public Records Law. Faculty and staff are encouraged to consult with Legal Services prior to creating such photographs or video images.
  • Careless or casual use of recorded images or sounds from a facility could unintentionally expose students, staff, and faculty to unwanted attention and harassment or misrepresent the nature of animal activities occurring at UW-Madison. Facility managers/PIs may wish to consider asking visitors to read this policy prior to entering animal facilities or taking photography or other recordings, or adding this policy to facility-specific SOPs.

Author: H.McEntee, B.Daly, I.Girard, E.Sandgren
ePublication Date: 06/20/2012