Capturing and Distributing Research Images

The University of Pittsburgh’s Animal Care And Use Committee has developed and approved the Standard Operating Procedure: Image Recordings of Research Animals to address safety and security concerns related to capturing and distributing pictures or video of vertebrate research animals.  

As a reminder, if you anticipate capturing pictures or video of your research, testing, or teaching that utilizes vertebrate animals, including their use in presentations internal or external to the University, you must include this information in your approved IACUC protocol by completing the Photography section. Coordination and communication with the animal program prior to recording animal images is essential to avoid security concerns. Camera or video recording is permitted in the animal facilities only after prior approval of the IACUC and coordination with the University Attending Veterinarian (or designee). Under special circumstances that are scientifically justified, a one-time or occasional request to perform animal photography or video can be approved by the University Attending Veterinarian and IACUC chair (or designee).

When capturing and distributing images or video of animals, keep the following in mind:

  • Consider your audience and their sensitivity to the content. Many non-scientists and scientists may not understand the context of the image and find it offensive. When possible, focus the image on the specific site on the animal’s body you wish to highlight rather than images of the whole animal. 
  • Avoid capturing non-participating personnel or identifying markers such as names and locations. If they are captured, edit them out before distribution. 
  • Consider all security concerns when distributing. Teleconference technologies such as Zoom and Teams can create secure channels for presentation, however, keep in mind an image can easily be captured via screenshot or camera. Cameras can also capture images at live presentations and could be distributed more broadly than you intend.     

If you have any questions please email