The University of Iowa

Media - Media Security (Policy)

Policy: The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) has provided a set of guidance documents (Policies, Guidelines, and Informational Sheets) for use when planning animal procedures at the University of Iowa. An exception to a Policy must be described and justified in the Animal Protocol and approved by the full IACUC at a convened monthly meeting.




This Media Security Policy (MSP) has been established by The University IACUC and is intended to protect the confidentiality and integrity of University of Iowa research, to assure respect for the privacy and safety interests of faculty, staff and students (University personnel) and to prevent misleading representation of animal care and use at the University and its affiliates.


This Policy describes the allowable use of  recording devices in any area where animals are housed, tested or used at the University of Iowa (including laboratories, University vehicles/conveyances and field study locations) and provides University personnel guidance on how to best present and share recordings involving live or dead animals or their parts.


Please also see the IACUC Policy regarding the use of Social Media


Users should be aware that media created for research purposes may be subject to Public Records Requests.




The use of any recording device (e.g., film camera, digital camera, camera phones, digital recorder, sound recorder, live streaming equipment) to record sounds or images of animals or animal use areas is prohibited unless one of the following exceptions apply:

  1. When performed by the Principal Investigator (PI) or designee when required for University-sanctioned scientific reasons (e.g., publications, laboratory documentation)
  2. When performed by the PI or designee for the purpose of recording instructional activities as described in the respective IACUC-approved protocol
  3. When performed by or at the direction of the Office of Animal Resources (OAR) or Office of the IACUC veterinary staff for the purpose of diagnosing or documenting clinical disease, veterinary care or treatment
  4. When performed by personnel in consultation with the OAR when required to document condition of facilities, or compliance or animal welfare issues
  5. When performed by IACUC members or office staff to document conditions during IACUC mandated inspections
  6. When performed by government inspectors (e.g. USDA Veterinary Medical Officer)

University personnel who wish to record or allow recording by others (e.g. journalists) in animal use areas for reasons not described in the above list of exceptions must involve the Director of the IACUC Office or Attending Veterinarian prior to recording. University personnel are also strongly encouraged to work with designated press officers throughout the recording session or subsequent information dissemination process by contacting the University’s Strategic Communications Director.


Guidance for implementing this policy

University personnel wishing to take or allow photographs or recordings of animals should consider the following:

  • Whether the desired photography or recording meets one of the exceptions listed above.
  • 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.
  • All photography and recording should be deleted as soon as no longer needed.
  • When recording live or euthanized animals, record only as much of an image as is needed for the applicable exception listed above.
  • Appropriate safety, handling, and restraint methods for the species should be used.
  • No unintentional references to the University of Iowa should be visible in the photograph. Pay attention to background and items.

  Rights of Individuals

Persons who could be photographed or recorded in the course of their work or otherwise under this Policy should be informed when such activity is imminent. Any individual may decline being photographed, filmed or recorded and is not required to be subject to photography or recording. 


  • Although recording of animals or animal activities may be permitted by this Policy, University personnel should recognize that what they perceive as appropriate may not necessarily be seen that way in the public eye.  Special attention should be given to the secure processing, transport and storage of negatives, disks, tapes, media cards, etc. and dissemination of images or recordings taken by investigators or authorized personnel in the course of their work.
  • Every effort should be made to show appropriate and accurate context when audio or visual recordings are made (e.g., if an animal is anesthetized or sedated, include the anesthetic vaporizer or tray holding the bottle of the tranquilizing agent; have personnel wearing required personal protective equipment appropriate for the work appear in the image).
  • For security purposes, every effort should be made to avoid showing identifying landmarks (e.g., building and room numbers, worker’s name badges, etc.).
  • University personnel should be mindful of the potential for photographs and recordings of animals to be the subject of public records requests.  Such photographs or recordings may be accessible to members of the public under either Iowa’s Public Records Law or the Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  University personnel may further consult with the University’s General Counsel about applicable laws.
  • Careless or casual use of recordings from animal use areas could unintentionally expose the University or its employees, students, vendors, etc. to unwanted attention and harassment or could misrepresent the nature of such activities occurring at or by the University of Iowa.  University personnel may consider asking students and visitors to read this Policy prior to entering animal use areas, engaging in animal-related activities or taking photographs or other recordings. University personnel may also consider adding this policy to departmental or course-specific policies or agreements.


Last Reviewed by the IACUC 3/8/2023