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California Laboratory Animal Use Approval Program

​​State of California Requirements to Keep and Use Laboratory Animals

The California Health and Safety Code (Division 2, Chapter 5, commencing with Section 1650) and the California Code of Regulations (Title 17, Chapter 2, Subchapter I, Group 5) require that persons (individuals, corporations, or institutions) who wish to keep or use live, warm-blooded animals for education, research, testing, or diagnostic purposes in California must apply to the Department of Public Health for approval to conduct such activities.  Applicants must be capable of and properly equipped to provide humane care and treatment of the animals kept or used.  A copy of the applicable laws and regulations is available by accessing the publication cited at the bottom of this page.

Laboratories which are subject to federal regulation (USDA-APHIS or NIH-OLAW) are exempt from state approval, as are animal husbandry activities, private veterinary practice, and primary or secondary schools. Because the USDA now regulates all warm-blooded animals except birds and rats (genus Rattus) or mice (genus Mus) bred for use in research, only those laboratories which use exclusively Rattus, Mus, and/or birds, and do not receive federal funds for animal use activities must now apply for approval by the California Department of Public Health.

Certificates of approval must be renewed annually, and changes in location, mailing address, responsible individuals, or purpose of animal use should be reported promptly to the Department. Application and renewal fees are authorized, but are currently waived for all applicants. The Department does not conduct a routine inspection program; however, inspections may be conducted as a result of complaints alleging improper or unapproved animal use.  Adherence to the tenets and standards of the most current edition of the ILAR Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals 1  is recommended as the best means of maintaining compliance with contemporary standards.

A Certificate of Approval to Keep and Use Laboratory Animals should be received within 30 days of application.  If approval is denied, the Department is required to provide in writing the grounds for denial within 90 days of receipt of the application.


To apply, complete form LAB 139 (PDF) and mail to: 

Animal Use Approval Program

California Department of Public Health

850 Marina Bay Parkway, Room B-153

Richmond, CA 94804 



1 Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources, Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council.  National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., 1996.

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