Guidance on Photographing and Recording of Research Animals

Statement of Purpose

Emory University recognizes the need for faculty, staff and students under faculty supervision to obtain photos or videos of laboratory animals for scientific and educational purposes. Emory also encourages its researchers to pursue publication while balancing that interest with the protection of animal welfare and the advancement of science. This document serves to establish principles to guide the balancing of the interests above in the publication and security of photographs and recordings of research animals.


This guidance applies to all faculty, staff and students under faculty supervision who are not under Yerkes supervision.

Considerations for Publication of Photographs or Recordings of Research Animals

The framework for guiding whether images should be published requires weighing a variety of factors. The primary factor is whether the intended audience is the general public (less likely to be published e.g. National Geographic) or the scientific community (more likely to be published e.g. scientific journal). If public facing, there should not be cages and an aerial perspective is preferred. If the audience is the scientific community, we discourage showing the animal in captivity, but that does not mean it cannot be published.

Security of Photographs and Recordings of Research Animals

When storing recordings or photographs of research animals, the following conditions must be met to maintain security.

  • Place the recording or photograph in a OneDrive folder shared only with members of the lab
  • Remote access to the photograph or recording must be made only through Emory Virtual Private Network (VPN)
  • There must be no streaming or saving on personal hand-held devices
  • The video should not be posted anywhere other than the OneDrive folder (e.g. lab website or social media)
  • All removable storage devices (tapes, flash drives, and similar portable devices) that contain photographs, video and/or sound-recordings of animals must be encrypted and kept in a secure, locked area with access limited to only Emory personnel. It is recommended that portable devices with these types of sensitive images and recordings include two-factor authentication, such as password-protection in addition to required encryption. The PI should consider retaining a chain of custody log for portable devices.
  • Computers containing photographs, video and/or audio-recordings must be password protected.
  • Recordings should be promptly downloaded to a secured drive and not stored for longer than necessary on the camera, video recording device, an unsecured computer hard drive or other unsecured external storage device.

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