Transportation and Shipment of Animals

 

Transporting Within the CMP Facilities

CMP and CMP-maintained facilities exercise great caution with animal husbandry techniques to ensure that animals housed within the facilities are not unnecessarily exposed to potential pathogens. These procedures include ordering specific-pathogen-free (SPF) animals, reducing exposure of animals to pathogens via direct contact, fomites (clothing, dirty equipment, dirty counters, and/or scales) or aerosol (air flow control, and/or use of micro isolator lids for rodent cages). Investigators are expected to exercise the same precautions required of animal care staff.

In addition, consideration should be given to protecting human occupants of a building from allergens of animal origin, microorganisms, chemicals, radioactive materials and escaped animals.

Protection of animals from potential pathogens and people from exposure to animals should be accomplished by using effective covers (microisolator or MI lids for rodent cages) whenever animals are transported outside of the animal housing room. MI lids can be acquired through the CMP supervisory staff.

Transport of Animals Outside of the CMP Facilities

CMP provides an animal transport service for investigators on the College Station campus using environmentally controlled vehicles and trained drivers. The service is available for the delivery of most species of animals. Its use is required for transporting animals from the CMP facilities or CMP-maintained facilities unless another acceptable method is justified and approved by the attending veterinarian.

Proper containment of animals in transit is essential. When possible, the CMP animal transport service will be used for the movement of dogs, cats, and rabbits. If laboratory personnel must transport animals, the following guidelines must be followed:

  1. CMP veterinary staff must be informed prior to the movement of animals outside the vivarium in order to validate appropriate procedures are followed.
  2. CMP personnel must be notified if animals are being transported back to CMP facilities from  an lab outside the vivarium to assure that room assignments minimize the potential for cross-contamination. Animals returning from an outside lab will not be housed in the original animal room unless specifically approved by the attending veterinarian. They will be housed in a separate room to avoid contaminating other resident colony animals.
  3. All methods of transporting Texas A&M University animals must provide for the health and welfare of the animals.
  4. Transportation of animals must be done in a direct and timely manner, avoiding public areas, areas primarily used by other Texas A&M employees and by as direct a route as possible.
  5. Animals should not be transported with any other animal, substance or device that may be expected to be injurious to their health or welfare.
  6. Care should be exercised in handling enclosures used to transport live animals. They should not be tossed, dropped, needlessly tilted, stacked in a manner which may reasonably be expected to result in their falling, or handled in any manner which may cause physical trauma or distress to the animals. They must  not be transported in the trunk of a car.
  7. Temperature extremes are to be avoided when animals are transported and special precautions or postponements are required when temperatures are below 45 degrees Fahrenheit or above 85 degrees Fahrenheit and may jeopardize the welfare of the animals.
  8. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA)regulations (Part 3, Transportation Standards, in subparts A-F (depending on species)) should be followed in transporting regulated animals. Transportation of animals must also comply with applicable state and local laws and regulations.
  9. It is essential that effective primary enclosures be used in the transportation of animals. These enclosures must be constructed of materials that can be sanitized, or disposed of, and prevent the spread of pathogenic microorganisms, chemicals or radioactive materials where indicated. The containers should be escape proof, properly labeled, and provide adequate ventilation.
  10. The enclosures should be opaque or shielded in such a way as to be non-stressful to the animals.
  11. Cargo areas used in the transportation of animals should be cleaned and decontaminated as necessary to prevent contamination of future animal deliveries.
  12. Any vehicles used to transport animals may be inspected by the IACUC to determine suitability.


The attending veterinarians and the IACUCs are responsible for oversight of these animal transportation guidelines; exceptions can be granted when it is considered in the best interest of the animal(s). Contact CMP for further information about animal transport.

Transporting Live or Dead Animals Containing Radioactive Isotopes

Investigators planning to transport live animals containing radioactive materials from one location to another should contact the Environmental Health and Safety Office, Radiological Safety Division at 979-845-1392 for specific guidance. Special transportation requirements must be addressed in Animal Use Protocols and have IACUC approval.

Warning labels are required on enclosures used to transport live or dead animals that have been exposed to radioactive hazards. The specific hazard must be identified.

Transporting Animals Treated With Human Pathogens or Carcinogenic Materials

PHS Policy requires that animal care and Use committees review animal study proposals for research with animals, including work with biohazards or chemical hazards. The transportation of animals that are to be dosed at one location and moved to another particularly needs to be evaluated to ensure that proper containment is used to minimize occupational exposure to persons involved with the move, and to minimize environmental contamination.

Small laboratory animals that have been exposed to human pathogens or toxic/carcinogenic substances and are actively shedding the hazardous material must be transported in closed systems. Transportation needs for larger animals so exposed will have to be evaluated on a case by case basis by the attending veterinarian in consultation with the Environmental Health and Safety Department and/or the Office of Biosafety.

Warning labels are required on enclosures used to transport live or dead animals that have been exposed to chemical or biological hazards. The specific hazard must be identified.

Returning Dirty Equipment

Dirty/used equipment being returned to CMP by investigative staff must be returned to the CMP main facility back dock entrance next to the dirty cage area. Please contact CMP for the exact location at  979.845.7433. Equipment should be placed in designated areas on the back dock to limit exposure of the CMP facility hallways to potential contamination from equipment that has been outside of the facility. For additional information contact the CMP Program Manager.

Shipment or Receipt of Animals to or From Other Institutions

The shipment of animals to or from other institutions and research facilities, both in and out of state, requires coordination and communication between not only the investigators, but also the animal care staff at both facilities. Communication about animal health status, animal housing concerns and information the receiving veterinary staff may request are essential to ensure the maintenance of animal health and well-being.

Arrangements for transporting the laboratory animals must meet requirements of the Animal Welfare Act and the PHS Policy. Animal shipments coming in and going out must be coordinated and/or approved by a CMP Clinical Veterinarian prior to movement of the animals.

Shipping - Call CMP (979.845.7433) for recommended commercial shipping information and to request animal shipments. Shipping is coordinated through the CMP veterinary staff and requires special arrangements to assure that shipments are direct and that ground transportation is timely.

Health certificate - An Animal Health and Shipping Certificate signed by an examining veterinarian must accompany all out of state shipments of animals. For dogs and cats the signature of a Texas licensed, USDA-accredited veterinarian is required.

Receiving - Call CMP (979.845.3084) to coordinate shipments to be received at CMP from other facilities and refer to information provided under animal vendors.