Consensus Report

Guidelines for the Humane Transportation of Research Animals (2006)

Each report is produced by a committee of experts selected by the Academy to address a particular statement of task and is subject to a rigorous, independent peer review; while the reports represent views of the committee, they also are endorsed by the Academy. Learn more on our expert consensus reports.

Transporting research animals is a necessary part of the biomedical enterprise that can have substantial effects on the physiological and psychological condition of the animals. Individuals at research facilities often find arranging transportation of animals a challenge. In order to address a plethora of sometimes confusing and burdensome regulations pertaining to transportation of research animals, this report recommends that an interagency working group be established to coordinate federal inspections and permitting activities. It further recommends that steps be taken to ensure the availability of safe, reliable air and ground transportation for research animals. The report also establishes science-based good practices for transporting research animals and advises that research institutions designate a single individual to be responsible for ensuring safe shipment and receipt of animals.

Key Messages

  • Currently five federal agencies have oversight authority on various aspects of the transportation process. The resulting overlap of authority presents a significant regulatory burden to individual researchers and commercial shipping operations.
  • Currently, only one domestic airline and five foreign airlines will consistently transport nonhuman primates.
  • Over the last 10-15 years, most foreign and domestic airlines have implemented a ban on transporting nonhuman primates destined for research.