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Approved animal use protocols are generally, but not always required. This policy clarifies those field situations when a protocol is not required.


This policy applies to Principal Investigators conducting field studies or research on animals in their natural habitat.

General Guidance

  1. Field studies of free-living, wild vertebrate animals in their natural environment that satisfy all of the following criteria may be exempt from IACUC approval:
    1. Field studies that do not “involve an invasive procedure, harm, or materially alter the behavior of an animal under study”. (9 CFR 1.1 – Animal Welfare Regulation)
    2. Field studies that do not involve the capture, handling, housing, transportation, treatment, or euthanasia of animals.
    3. Complete the Observational Field Study Waiver
  2. If IACUC approval of a study is required by the funding agency, an exemption cannot be granted. Field studies assigned exempt status may be subject to reevaluation by the IACUC for conditions including, but not limited to, changes in federal, state, local or institutional policy or changes in funding source.

IACUC Approval: 05/17/2021

Review Date: 05/17/2021

Issue Date: 06/11/2021