tion should be provided to prevent moisture buildup on room surfaces and maintain suitable temperatures for the species housed.


Recent episodes of domestic terrorism have heightened awareness of the importance of animal facility security, but there are other reasons why security and access control should be provided. Most animals maintained for research are vulnerable to infection with adventitious agents and therefore access to them should be strictly controlled and made available only to personnel who have received appropriate training and have a legitimate need for access. Animals used in studies with hazardous materials require special precautions for personnel before access, and staff entering the animal facility should have completed the institution’s occupational health and safety training.

When possible, the animal facility should be located within another structure with its own independent set of security features. Vehicular access should be limited and, when provided, controlled and monitored.

Security and access control are generally provided in zones, starting at the perimeter with areas of highest security located within other zones. Control measures may consist of security personnel, physical barriers, and control devices. The scope of the security system should depend on the size of the facility as well as the nature of the activities conducted within. Increasingly, access control is extended from the facility’s perimeter to each animal holding room. Microprocessor-controlled security systems are frequently employed because of the large number of control points and staff requiring access. These systems typically use electronic key or proximity cards and associated readers, which, in addition to controlling access, enable recording of the time, location, and personal identification of each entry. In more sensitive areas, biometric reading devices such as thumb or palm readers or retinal scanners may be more suitable because key cards can be shared. Security may be enhanced with electronic and video surveillance systems. These systems may be monitored by personnel or motion-activated recording devices.


ACME, ASTMH [American Committee of Medical Entomology, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene]. 2003. Arthropod Containment Guidelines. Vector-Borne Zoonotic Dis 3:61-98.

AORN [Association of Operating Room Nurses]. 1993. Recommended practices: Traffic patterns in the surgical suite. AORN J 57:730.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement