This policy serves to provide ethical, practical, and humane methods for the disposition of university-owned animals when they are no longer required for research, testing, or teaching use. Regardless of the disposition the particular method of disposition must be approved on the IACUC protocol the animals are on. Animals remaining at the end of an approved protocol may be removed in the following ways:

  1. They may be euthanized in accordance with current American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals:  2013 Edition.
  2. They may be transferred from one active protocol to another active approved protocol. This requires a prior animal transfer request that has approval by the facility’s Attending Veterinarian (AV) and transfer of animals is approved in the noted protocols by the IACUC. Only animals used in non-invasive or minimally invasive experimentation or animals used in invasive or surgical research/teaching are eligible for such transfers. Please note, to transfer animals that have been used in invasive or surgical research/teaching, the approved IACUC protocol these animals are being transferred to must list the invasive or surgical research/teaching these animals have been involved in, and their re-use must be justified.
  3. They may be adopted. The adoptable status of an animal must be determined by the University Attending Veterinarian or AV designee at the respective facilities. Individual facilities may have adoption policies, guidelines, or SOPs that must be followed.
  4. Food animals (livestock) may be sent to Livestock Sales or Production Plant disposition in accordance with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. Only experimentally naïve agricultural animals or agricultural animals used in non-invasive or minimally invasive agricultural research or teaching may be sent to market for human consumption. Food Animal Residue Avoidance Database (FARAD) (http://www.farad.org/) and FDA regulations apply. With regard to animals used for biomedical research, only control animals may be sold to market, pursuant to transfer from a research protocol to a facility holding/maintenance protocol. Biomedical experimental animals may not be sold.
  5. They may be returned to privately-owned or researcher-owned care, respectively, if client or researcher originally donated these animals to the study.
  6. They may be transferred to a suitable institution for research or teaching. The receiving institution must have a scientific or teaching purpose for the animal(s) and have an IACUC-approved protocol in place. A copy of the receiving institution’s approved protocol should be sent to the NCSU IACUC office prior to the animal transfer for verification of approval. Other information may be requested depending on the transfer arrangement.
  7. They may be loaned to another suitable institution. In some loan situations, ownership of the animals will be transferred to the receiving institution and they will be financially responsible for all aspects of animal care and use. There may be instances in which NCSU grantees will be financially responsible for some of the aspects of animal care and use. Please note that depending on your funding source additional information may be necessary to approve the loan of animal subjects. NCSU will maintain ownership of the animals throughout the loan period until the animals return to an NCSU facility. Please note that if NCSU maintains ownership of these animals the IACUC must ensure appropriate care and use at the lending facility. Additional information, based on the nature of this loan, will be requested prior to approval of this method of disposition.

Other methods of disposition can be requested by way of contacting the IACUC office and providing specific information for consideration.

Note: Only experimentally naïve animals or animals used in non-invasive or minimally invasive research/teaching may be sold for research, teaching, or testing. Animals used in invasive or surgical research/teaching may only be transferred to another NCSU approved protocol if re-use is justified on the protocol the animal will be transferred to.


For the sake of this document the IACUC defines experimentally naïve as a USDA Category B procedures, non-invasive procedures as USDA Category C procedures, and invasive procedures as USDA Category D or E procedures. IACUC guidelines on these determinations can be found at https://research.ncsu.edu/sparcs/compliance/iacuc/iacuc-forms/pain-and-distress-categories/. Exceptions may be approved by the IACUC.

Animals that are not eligible for adoption include:

The financial responsibility for all animals will remain the responsibility of the Principal Investigator or his/her department until final disposition (euthanasia, transfer, or adoption) is accomplished, unless other arrangements have been made with your department or the facility.