Regulations governing access

  1. The following may access the General Animal Unit Services: all researchers from the University of the Basque Country/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, and those from other universities and public and private entities who so request it, in accordance with these regulations and regulations governing SGIs.
  2. Each Animal Unit will ensure that some "Regulations for Use" of the Animal Unit services at the relevant Campus be made available to interested parties, including the facilities which are available. It should be recalled that each Animal Unit at the three university campuses of the UPV/EHU is fitted out differently and so there are, therefore, some differences regarding the internal regulations governing operation.
  3. Requests for animals or for the use of Animal Unit services will be dealt with in the order in which they are received, and must be recorded in the corresponding register or file containing the service request form file which is available at each Animal Unit.
  4. The order in which requests are dealt with may be altered owing to technical reasons or in order to carry out urgent work that has been duly justified by the person in charge of the service. Priority for services outside the UPV/EHU must not exceed 30% of the weekly time during which the service is in operation.
  5. When the work carried out by an Animal Unit entails a substantial contribution in the course of research by a research group or project, the relevant publications will mention the use of such services.
  6. Rates for using the different equipment will be those that are annually approved by the Research Committee. All services rendered (both internal and external) will be invoiced via the Accounting Dept. at the UPV/EHU or via budgetary procedures, in accordance with the rates established.
  7. Laboratory animals will be handled in accordance with the technology corresponding to each species, and always within the scope of the legal regulations in force. The advice given by personnel from the Animal Unit will be taken into account for such purpose. This activity will be governed by the Regulations for Use of services provided by each Animal Unit at the University of the Basque Country-EHU.

Internal Regulations


1) Description of activities

The Animal Unit at the Pharmacy Faculty is set aside for the housing and upkeep of small animals to be used in research projects and/or teaching tasks at the Faculty.

Specifically, it is essentially used for rats, mice, hamsters and rabbits, although other types of small rodent can also be housed (gerbils and guinea pigs) provided that stalling conditions permit this. In principle, these animals will not be bred or reproduced on the premises, but rather, acquired from different suppliers of laboratory animals existing in Spain. The latter are establishments which adhere to the regulations in force governing such activity. 

2) Location of the Animal Unit

It is located on the third floor (mezzanine) of the Pharmacy Faculty building, at Paseo de la Universidad Nº 7, in Vitoria.

3) Distribution of the installations

These installations consist of the following:

  • Animal and material reception area
  • Administrative area:

        -Entry and departure of animals

        -Official documentary registration of the use of the animals

        -Registration of purchase of fodder, bedding and other materials

  • Quarantine area with two housing areas for animals
  • Non-infected animal area: consists of 7 housing rooms
  • Service area: consists of 5 rooms set aside for:

        -Emptying, cleaning and washing cages and other materials

        -Fodder and bedding warehouse

        -Warehouse for cleaning cages and miscellaneous materials

        -Changing room, toilet and shower

        -Location of cold equipment

  • Infected (non-contagious) animal area: consists of 4 housing rooms
  • Treatment and experimental work area: consists of 4 rooms equipped with worktop and sink

4) Request for animals from external suppliers

Requests for animals from officially-authorised breeding and supplier establishments may be made either directly by the User in Charge or through the Animal Unit Service.

In any event and by way of a prior step, the personnel from the Animal Unit must confirm that there is space available for their upkeep and, if so, will notify the User sufficiently in advance (one week) of the date of arrival of the animals in order to prepare their reception, after carrying out the relevant procedures. Animals must reach the Animal Unit within service hours and always before midday on Fridays. In the event that animals happen to arrive outside these hours, the user in charge will be responsible for receiving them.

The invoice for the animals requested shall be met by the Department of the User in Charge.

5) Reception of animals

In compliance with Royal Decree 223/88 (published in Official Gazette on 18-3-1998), only those animals that come from authorised centres can be admitted to the Animal Unit.

They must be received by personnel from the Animal Unit, examined and suitably stalled in the Quarantine Area to be subsequently housed in the places set aside for such purpose. In the event that the animals happen to arrive outside service hours, they will be housed in the quarantine area by the person in charge of reception. 

The personnel from the Animal Unit will record the entry of the animals and document their origin, filing the relevant delivery note.

6) Animal stalling

Users will inform the personnel from the Animal Unit of approximate stalling time in order to predict the availability of housing with enough time. To this end, the User in Charge will complete an entry form stating the initial number of animals and the number of deaths.  On completion of the experiment, this file will be handed in to the Animal Unit administration. 

Animals will be stalled in the relevant housing rooms. A card will be placed on each cage, indicating the following: 

  • User in Charge
  • Animal stock
  • Number of animals
  • Sex
  • Day of entry

On completion of the experiment, the card must be handed in to the secretary's office and the empty cage taken to the cleaning area.

Animals will be fed and cages cleaned by personnel from the Animal Unit, except where the features of the research require that this be carried out by the user.

If under some circumstances users think they are not going to use stalled animals for long periods, this would need to be assessed with personnel from the Animal Unit as to whether they should continue to be stalled or not, given the cost of upkeep and availability of cages.

7) Handling of animals

All handling of animals subject to experimentation will be in accordance with the legal regulations in force and will be the users' responsibility.

There are two basic principles to be taken into account:

  • To prevent any unnecessary suffering of the animals.
  • To prevent risk to the handler.

To this end, experience of handling animals is required, whereby all people who have no training in the handling of laboratory animals may request advice from the person in charge of the Service. 

Users may request the assistance of personnel from the Animal Unit for the handling and administering of treatment carried out at the Animal Unit, within operating hours. Personnel from the Animal Unit will be able to attend to such requests provided that there obligations permit them to do so.

The handling and treatment of animals will take place outside the housing rooms. There are four rooms for the handling and treatment of animals at the Animal Unit, without their needing to be removed from there. The use of these rooms will have to be coordinated among the different user groups and the person in charge of the Animal Unit. Once the experiment has been completed, the user team shall be responsible for cleaning the desks and the material used by the team. The animals used must also once again be stalled in a suitable place.

If the experiment is not carried out at the Animal Unit, the user may remove the animals from the enclosure. They should, where possible, be returned by personnel from the Animal Unit or otherwise housed in a quarantine room fitted out for such purpose. 

If the animals are going to be subjected to experimental infections or treatments using radioactive materials, the person in charge of the Animal Unit must be consulted beforehand so as to take the relevant measures. 

If the personnel from the Animal Unit should happen to find any dead animal, they shall inform the user team of this and proceed according to what has been agreed in such case. If the user is unable to be informed of this, the personnel from the Animal Unit shall remove the dead animal and freeze it.

8) Material

All the material that needs to be removed from the enclosure and taken to the laboratories must be returned as soon as possible. The cages must not be labelled (cards must be used) nor subject to any type of transformation (holes, etc.), without the express consent of the person in charge and, in this case, for some highly-justified reason.

9) Removal of corpses

Personnel will centralize the storage of corpses in the freezer of the Animal Unit until their collection by the relevant official service. 

Animals will be put down in a humane manner and no removal of corpses will be permitted until rigor mortis sets in. Dead animals will be collected in suitably sealed plastic bags for their appropriate removal. No needles or other sharp objects should be inserted in these bags that could cause injury to the personnel who are removing them, nor any other material (gloves, papers, etc.)

In the event of animals infected with microorganisms that could entail risk of infection to personnel or environmental contamination, these must be autoclaved before being handed over to personnel at the Animal Unit for their subsequent removal.

The user group shall be responsible for putting down any animals. The person in charge of the Service may be consulted about this.

10) Opening hours

The Animal Unit will be open during the hours stipulated on its entrance door.

Those user groups who, for justified reasons, should require to do so, may be given a key to the Animal Unit for the duration of the experiment, being duly responsible for its use.

General rules

Access to the unit of Animal Unit Alava involves meeting the requirements set forth in the Protocol for access to SGIker and the services it provides.