Activities Requiring an Approved IACUC Protocol

Before any vertebrate animal can be used in research, training or teaching, the proposed animal use must be reviewed and approved by the IACUC, regardless of the funding source. The animal-use regulations require the IACUC to consider a number of specific aspects of animal use in the context of a particular research or teaching project. For this reason, an approved “protocol” covering a particular procedure cannot be used for another project with a different objective even if the animal procedure is the same, although reference to approved standard operating procedures may simplify the process. Protocols must be approved before any work can commence, and work must cease if a protocol is determined to be out of compliance.

The PI of an IACUC protocol must be a CSUF faculty member.

A completed Application for Animal Care and Use must be submitted for all on-campus or off-campus research or instructional activities involving vertebrate animals and involving CSUF faculty, students, or staff. This requirement includes both funded and unfunded projects. Off-campus work done at another institution must have approval from that institution's IACUC, which must then be sent to CSUF IACUC.

Any activity that will affect animals in CSUF’s care (e.g., remodeling, public display of animals) should also be brought to the IACUC’s attention and may also be subject to review.


The following activities are exempt from the requirement for a completed protocol for Animal Care and Use, but still require a formal exemption letter. A request for exemption can be done through a memo, which is reviewed and approved by the IACUC Chair. It is recommended that the PI contact the IACUC Chair before submitting an exemption request.

  • Use of dead animals or tissue from dead animals. However, persons collecting carcasses must have the appropriate state or local permits, and persons using dead lab animals must verify that the animals were not sacrificed for their project.
  • Non-invasive observational studies of wild animals in their natural habitat that do not materially affect the behavior of the animals. Field studies that involve killing, trapping, banding, darting or implantation of telemetry devices, or that involve procedures designed to habituate the animals to the presence of humans, are NOT exempt. Field studies of threatened or endangered species are also NOT exempt.
  • Work done by a CSUF investigator at another institution, not using funds procured or managed by CSUF, and not doing the work for CSUF credit or thesis.
  • Procurement of custom antibody or tissue products from USDA-approved commercial sources. However, the contractor must have a current NIH Assurance and be USDA-registered as a research facility. The contractor must also provide certify and provide evidence (e.g., approved protocol) that all procedures will be done in compliance with federal regulations governing the ethical care and use of animals, and that CSUF IACUC will be notified promptly of any problems related to animal care and use for the project.