Importing and Exporting Animals

Importing mice and rats into Bioresources, including Quarantine Material

Importation of animals into the facility falls into one of two categories:

  • Approved supplier – this is a commercial vendor such as Jackson Labs and Charles River. Depending on health of the colony and history, these animals can be imported into the facility and be placed directly into our quarantine area, where they will undergo a health screening process and will be moved into the main facility on confirmation of appropriate health status. This is uncommon as there are only two supplies presently approved for import via this route.
  • Animals from non-commercial facilities cannot enter directly and will need to be embryo rederived.

Many Genetically Modified animals are considered intellectual property and require a Material Transfer Agreement(MTA).

Animals coming in from overseas must have an Animal Health Certificate (for the export of live laboratory rodents and genetic material to Australia) which will be arranged and supplied in the case of using an Approved supplier. Bioresources also requires health screening information including colony, room and facility health history.

There may be airline travel restrictions due to extremes of weather. This may create delays if the weather is very hot.

Bioresources holds a DAWR (Department of Agriculture and Water Resources) Permit to Import Quarantine Material under which importation of rodents can be arranged. We have permits for the Jackson Laboratory and for Charles River.

Note: we do not have the capacity at present to rederive rat embryos so we can only accept wild type rats from specified commercial suppliers.

Importation process overview

Animals from an approved commercial supplier.

  • To order rodents from an approved supplier simply submit an online animal requisition form through to Bioresources using the E-mus system.
  • E-mus will not allow an order to be placed without certain information. Therefore, before ordering on E-mus, ensure you have the following information:
    • Line details;
    • A completed animal passport on the SAHMRI template (available here);
    • The AEC approval number relevant to the animals;
    • Your IBC approval number if it is a GMO;
    • Your cost centre code must have been inputted on the system by the Bioresources Manager before you place the order;
    • Information on the exporting institute including contact information.
  • Our ordering system will automatically track the number of animals you have purchased for your records. Our Import Manager will place the animal order and update the system so you can keep track of the order.
  • Once the animals have arrived, you will be notified, and they will be housed in quarantine and health screening arranged. The health screening timeline will depend on the health history information we received from the supplier but typically, we will screen a sentinel or an additional animal sent with the order. The import cost charged to you includes the cost of this screen as well as all import charges such as animal purchase costs and importation costs. Once the screen comes back with a negative result, we can move animals into the Holding Area appropriate for your work.

Animals from non-commercial vendors from within Australia.

To bring rodents in from other Institutes/Universities, a rederivation request needs to be made. Bioresources supports the importation of mouse strains from other institutes and although we will carefully evaluate the importation of animals on a case-by-case basis, the majority of animals will need to come into the facility through embryo rederivation carries out by our facility staff.

Importation process step-by-step

  • The investigators submit an online animal requisition form which can be found on the Bioresources E-mus database. Please contact one of the Bioresources team for further information; contact information is at the bottom of this page.
  • The requisition form will answer any questions we may have about the strain, and also help with special needs for animals during travel.
  • The health status of the animals to be imported will be requested by the Bioresources Import Manager prior to exportation from the supplier. A recent health screen is required, as well as colony, room and facility health screen information. The Import Manager will liaise directly with the supplier to obtain this information.
  • The Import Manager will confirm that we can accept the animals and arrange a pick up time with the shipping company and complete all necessary paperwork.
  • Animals from our approved commercial suppliers on arrival will be placed in our quarantine area and a cage of sentinel animals will be placed with each new import, and undergo the standard sentinel processes and be screened following several weeks of quarantine. The quarantine process may vary depending on the health screen reports received.
  • If sentinels show a suitable pathogen status, the animals can move into the facility and you will be notified of this and they will be assigned a holding room.
  • If animals show positive screening results, the animals will not move into the facility and an alternative procedure for entry involving embryo rederivation will be developed.
  • Animals from non-approved facilities will be brought in via a local courier and we would require written confirmation of a health check by the Animal Welfare Officer/Facility Manager to confirm they were in good health when they left the establishment.
  • On arrival the animals would go into our separate rederivation quarantine area where they would be inspected as they were placed into their new home cage.
  • Once settled in, they would begin the rederivation process. More details on the rederivation process are provided separately in the Bioresources web pages
  • Investigators will be discouraged form working on their mice in quarantine; exceptions may be made and will be on a case-by-case basis. Bioresources staff can carry out any requests on the mice, including breeding of animals.


Costs vary depending on the level of service required. Cost may include one or more of the following:

  • Costs for health screening by Compath;
  • Rederivation costs. These can vary. The standard scenario is priced on the Bioresources price list; we will discuss this with you individually;
  • Shipping costs. These vary depending on the number of mice placed in one container depends on the strain of mice, quantity, gender, genotype and the age of the mice, country of origin;
  • Bioresources administration charges for processing the import;
  • When purchasing mice from the Jackson Labs the pricing structure for the 6000 plus strains is available at their website and varies from strain to strain. The Jackson Lab mice data base for the strains outlines the costs and offers a data sheet of information about each strain. See;
  • The estimated cost of importation will be provided to you in advance and charged to your account on completion.

Exporting mice

Bioresources are happy to assist with the exportation of mice to other research institutions; the process is similar to importation but reversed.

Exportation Process Step-by-Step

  • To begin the export process place an Export Request in the Bioresources E-mus database. This will include the institute address and contact person who will be receiving the animals, the animals you wish to export, and details of who will cover the cost of the export.
  • Please provide plenty of notice.
  • Bioresources will contact the receiving institute and send across information on the health status of your animals.
  • Decided date for shipment will be agreed. Bioresources staff will liaise closely with the receiving institution at all times and will arrange the movement of mice on your behalf.
  • Bioresources will arrange a pick up time with the shipping company and complete all necessary paperwork.
  • The animals will be health checked as they are packed for travel and a signed declaration ensuring they were of good health when shipped will be attached. The mice will travel in approved rodent shipping containers, and animals will be provided with adequate food and liquid (the latter using special gel travel packs). Containers will be securely closed and labelled to identify the animals located in each section of the shipping box.
  • We will also send our ear marking code and full details of the animals sent as exported from our E-mus database.
  • All involved will be informed once the mice have left Bioresources.
  • We will not ship male and female animals together in the same shipping compartment. We will not ship pregnant animals or animals with litters/offspring, unless we receive and approve a welfare justification for why this is required, as well as prior written authorization from the receiving institution.


The cost of exporting animals depends on the number of animals, the courier used, and the time devoted to the project by Bioresources staff. We will quote this to you before arranging shipment.


For further information, please contact Bioresources at

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The SAHMRI community acknowledges and respects the traditional owners, the family clans who are the Kaurna Nation from the Adelaide Plains region of South Australia. We acknowledge the clans of the Kaurna Nation and the sacred knowledge they hold for their country. We pay our respects to the Kaurna Nation, their ancestors and the descendants of these living family clans today.