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The Animal Welfare Act

Animal Welfare Act regulates the care and use of animals in many areas, including animal research. The Act has been modified and updated several times since its adoption in 1966, and currently covers all warm-blooded animals except rats, mice and birds, and farm animals used in food and fiber research.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), a division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), oversees compliance with the Act. APHIS maintains a pool of investigators who inspect animal research facilities at least once a year and report their findings to the USDA and the public. Those not in compliance with the Act may be fined or have their licenses revoked. More information on APHIS can be found on their website.

Public Health Service Policy

Hundreds of research institutions receive support through the United States Public Health Service (PHS) for research involving animals. These institutions must provide extensive written documentation (referred to as "assurance") of their compliance with the "PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals." Copies of the PHS Policy are available from the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, National Institutes of Health, telephone 301.496.7163. Or visit their website.

Texas A&M University PHS Assurance

    The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

    The Animal Welfare Act requires U.S. institutions to have an "Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee" (IACUC) to review and approve or deny every protocol and research project that involves animals. The IACUC plays a major role in ensuring that research animals are being responsibly used and cared for in a humane manner. Click here for more information for IACUCs.

    Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Guide, NRC 2011)
    The Eighth Edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (NRC 2011) is available for download (PDF).

    Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Research and Teaching (Ag Guide), Federation of Animal Science Societies, FASS 2010 (PDF).

    Institutional Administrator's Manual for Laboratory Animal Care and Use
    DHHS Pub., (NIH) No. 88-2959, 1988. Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, National Institutes of Health, RKL I, Suite 360, MSC 7982, 6705 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892-7982.

    Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Guidebook
    2nd Edition, 2002. Office of Laboratory Animal Welfares/Applied Research Ethics National Association. Booklet available (Word).

    Medical Records for Animals Used in Research, Teaching, and Testing: Public Statement from the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine
    ILAR Journal Vol. 48, No. 1 (2007) (PDF)

    Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (5th edition)
    HHS Pub. No. (CDC) 21-1112, Dec 2009. Division of Occupational Health and Safety, NIH, Bldg. 13, Rm. 3K04, 13 South Drive, MSC 5760, Bethesda, MD 20892. 301/496-2960.

    AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia (Formerly Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia), June 2007 (PDF)

    Criteria for a Recommended Standard Occupational Exposure to Waste Anesthetic Gases and Vapors
    DHEW Pub. No. (NIOSH) 77-140, March 1977.

    Occupational Health and Safety in the Care and Use of Research Animals
    National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences (Adopted September 1997). National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Ave., NW, Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055. On NAP website.

    Recommendations for Prevention of and Therapy for Exposure to B Virus (Cercopithecine Herpesvirus 1), Cohen JI, Davenport DS, Stewart JA, Deitchman S, Hilliard JK, Chapman LE. 2002 Nov 15; Clinical Infectious Diseases 35(10):1191-1203. On CDC website.

    Guidelines for Animal Surgery in Research and Teaching,
Am J Vet Res, 1993, 54:1544-1559. AVMA, 930 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60196. 800/248-2862.

    NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules (NIH Guidelines)
    September 2009 (updated 2011). On NIH website.

    Guidelines for the Care and Use of Mammals in Neuroscience and Behavioral Research
    NRC 2003. On NAP website.

    Guidelines for Use of Live Amphibians and Reptiles in Field and Laboratory Research
    This reference was adopted by the Council on Accreditation with the caveat that Council requires aseptic technique when conducting survival surgeries and that fixation in formalin must be preceded by anesthesia or euthanasia. It is maintained by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (PDF).

    Guidelines of the American Society of Mammalogists for the Use of Wild Mammals in Research
    Journal of Mammology, 88(3):809-823, 2007 (PDF).

    Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research
    3rd Edition – 2010, The Ornithological Council