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LATG: A Review of the Animal Welfare Act. Created by Marc S. Hulin, DVM, Dipl. ACLAM. History of AWA. Laboratory Animal Welfare Act of 1966 (PL# 89-544): designed to stop “pet napping” applied to dog & cats dealers; research facilities that used dogs and cats

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LATG:A Review of theAnimal Welfare Act

Created by

Marc S. Hulin, DVM, Dipl. ACLAM


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History of AWA

  • Laboratory Animal Welfare Act of 1966 (PL# 89-544):

    • designed to stop “pet napping”

    • applied to dog & cats dealers; research facilities that used dogs and cats

  • Animal Welfare Act (PL# 91-579) amended in 1970:

    • expanded to cover hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, NHP & other warm-blooded species

    • cover animals while on study

    • cover use in teaching and exhibition


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History of AWA

  • 1976 Amendment (PL#94-279):

    • carriers were covered & transportation standards were set

    • expanded to cover Marine Mammals


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History of AWA

  • Food Security Act of 1985 (PL# 99-198):

    • aka “Improved Standards for Laboratory Animals”

    • mandated training of all personnel using animals in research

    • defined duties & composition of the IACUC

    • developed standards for exercise of dogs & psychological well-being of NHP

    • defined one major operative procedure only: unless scientifically justified or vet. procedure

    • established Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC) to prevent unnecessary duplication


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History of AWA

  • Protection of Pets-1990 Amendment:

    • attached to Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act (PL # 101-624)

    • mandated a minimum holding period of 5 days for pounds and shelters before providing any live cat or dog to a “Class B” dealer


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APHIS & AWA

  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS):

    • enforcement of the standards and regulations of the AWA

  • Regulatory Enforcement and Animal Care (REAC):

    • group within APHIS that administers Federal laws concerning transportation, sale, and handling of animals used in lab research

    • NOTE: USDA inspections are unannounced and conducted annually


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Part 1- Definition of Terms

  • Animal:

    • any live or dead dog, cat, NHP, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit or any other warm-blooded animal intended for use in research

    • term excludes: birds, rats of the genus Rattus and mice of the genus Mus bred for research

    • also excludes horses not used for research purposes and other farm animals intended for use as food or fiber


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Part 1- Definition of Terms

  • Class “A” dealer (purpose bred):

    • breed and raise animals in a closed or stable colony

  • Class “B” dealer (random source):

    • purchase and/or resale of any animal for the purpose of research

  • Class “C” dealer (exhibitor):

    • showing or displaying of animals to the public


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Part 1- Definition of Terms

  • Field study:

    • study conducted on free-living wild animals in their natural habitat; which does not involve invasive procedures, and which does not harm or materially alter the behavior of the animals under study

  • Institutional Official:

    • individual at a research facility who is authorized to legally commit on behalf of research facility that requirements of AWA will be met.


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Part 1- Definition of Terms

  • Major operative procedure:

    • any surgical procedure that penetrates and exposes a body cavity or any procedure which produces permanent impairment of physical or physiological functions

  • Painful procedure:

    • any procedure that would reasonably be expected to cause more than slight or momentary pain or distress in a human being


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Part 1- Definition of Terms

  • Random sources:

    • dogs & cats obtained from animal pounds or shelters, auction sales, or from any person who did not breed & raise them on his or her premises

  • Primary enclosures:

    • any structure or device used to restrict an animal or animals, such as a room, pen, or cage.


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Part 1- Definition of Terms

  • Study area:

    • any room, area, enclosure, or other containment outside of a main animal facility where animals are housed for more than 12 hours.

    • NOTE: PHS Policy defines as 24 hrs.


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Part 2- Regulations

  • This part sets forth requirements for registration & licensing under the Act, adequate veterinary care, handling, holding, facilities, identification of animals, and recordkeeping


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Subpart A- Licensing

  • Persons operating or desiring to operate as dealers, exhibitors, or operators of auction sales must be licensed

  • Exemptions:

    • retail pet stores

    • persons who derive no more than $500 gross annual income

    • persons who maintain no more than 3 breeding female dogs or cats & sell offspring for pets or exhibition

    • persons who sell fewer than 25 dogs and or cats annually for research, testing, or education


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Subpart A- Licensing

  • Exemptions (con’t):

    • persons who buy animals solely for their own use & do not sell or exhibit animals

  • License application: $10 fee

    • Applicants must demonstrate that their premises, facilities, vehicles, equipment are in compliance

    • licenses are valid for 1 yr.

    • 30 days prior to expiration must reapply and submit annual report with income or number of animals sold.


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Subpart B- Registration

  • Carriers, Intermediate handlers, and exhibitors must register with the Secretary of USDA

  • Must be updated every 3 yrs.


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Subpart C- Research Facilities

  • Research facilities, other than federal research facilities must register

  • Updated every 3 yrs.

  • An official who has legal authority to bind the parent organization must sign the registration form


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Subpart C- Research Facilities

  • IACUC:

    • CEO must appoint IACUC members

    • Must consist of at least 3 people

      • Chairman

      • DVM with training or experience in lab animal science and medicine

      • Person not affiliated with the facility (not immediate family member)

    • If more than 3 members, no more than 3 members from same dept.

    • NOTE: PHS policy must have 5 members


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Subpart C- Research Facilities

  • IACUC functions:

    • review animal care program & inspect animal facilities at least once every 6 months

    • prepare reports from the review & inspection

    • review & investigate public complaints about animal care

    • review & approve proposed activities or significant changes

    • suspend an activity involving animals


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Subpart C- Research Facilities

  • Attending Veterinarian and Adequate Veterinary Care:

    • each facility must employ an attending veterinarian

    • part time or consultants must have a written program of veterinary care & regularly scheduled visits to the facility


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Subpart C- Research Facilities

  • Recordkeeping Requirements:

    • Must maintain IACUC records

      • Meeting minutes

      • Proposed activities & significant changes

      • Semiannual reports

      • must keep for 3 yrs. after completion of project

    • Must keep records for live dogs and cats

      • Health certificate, Animal description, USDA #, date of acquisition, vendor info.

    • All records must be available for APHIS and federal agency inspection & copying (FOIA)

    • NOTE: PHS require 2 more: AWA & AAALAC, Int. accreditation


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Subpart C- Research Facilities

  • Annual Report to USDA:

    • Must be submitted by Dec. 1 of each yr.; covers Oct. 1-Sept. 30 (federal fiscal yr.)

    • Considered alternatives to painful procedures

    • Assure adhering to the AWA

    • Common names and number of animals used in the following categories:

      • D or 0: no pain or distress

      • E or 1: pain or distress with appropriate drugs

      • F or 2: pain or distress without drugs; requires scientific justification


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Subpart C- Research Facilities

  • Identification of dogs and cats:

    • Official tag:

      • “USDA”

      • Numbers and letters identifying the state and dealer

      • Numbers identifying the animal

    • Tags cannot be reused within a 5 yr. period

    • Lost tags must be replaced with new tag and number & must be recorded in records

    • Tags must be kept for 1 yr. period


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Subpart C- Research Facilities

  • Identification of dogs and cats (con’t):

    • Tattoo

    • Collar

    • Unweaned puppies or kittens to not need individual identification if with dams

  • Health certificates:

    • Dog, Cat, or NHP transported from a research facility must be accompanied by health certificate issued by licensed, accredited vet.

    • Health certificate must have date examined by vet.; not more than 10 days prior to transport


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Subpart C- Research Facilities

  • Holding periods for dogs and cats:

    • Research facilities that obtain dogs or cats from sources other than dealers, exhibitors, and persons who are exempt from licensing regulations must hold the animal for 5 full days, not including the day of acquisition or time in transit


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Subpart H- Compliance with Standards

  • Holding period:

    • Any live cat or dog acquired by a dealer or exhibitor must be held for 5 full days, not including the day of acquisition or time in transit and must include at least one Saturday

    • This 5 days is for animals acquired from public pounds or shelters

    • Extended to 10 days if acquired from private or contract pounds or shelters

    • Pounds or shelters must hold for 5 days before releasing to Class “B” dealer


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Subpart H- Compliance with Standards

  • Holding period (con’t):

    • Before selling a random source dog, a dealer must provide certification relating to:

      • background and registration of the dealer and animal

      • description of the animal

      • background of shelter were purchased

      • statement by shelter that held for at least 5 days

      • assurance that the dealer notified person, pound or shelter that the animal might be used for research or educational purposes


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Subpart H- Compliance with Standards

  • Procurement of random source dogs and cats:

    • Class “B” dealers may obtain random source dogs and cat only from:

      • licensed dealers

      • state, county, or city-owned and operated pounds or shelters

      • another legally operated animal shelter


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Part 3- Standards

  • This sections specifies standards for the humane handling, care, treatment, and transportation of dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, NHP, marine mammals, and other warm-blooded animals

  • NOTE: This section has a lot of common sense info. e.g., removal and disposal of waste must be regular and frequent or adequate potable water must be supplied for animals’ drinking needs


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Part 3- Standards

  • Indoor facilities:

    • Dogs, Cats, NHP:

      • the ambient temp. must not fall below 45 F or rise above 85 F for more than 4 consecutive hours when animals are present

    • Guinea pigs and hamsters:

      • the ambient temp. must not fall below 60 F or exceed 85 F

    • Rabbits:

      • indoor facilities need not be heated


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Part 3- Standards

  • Outdoor facilities:

    • Not suitable for guinea pigs and hamsters

    • Dogs and cats:

      • unknown acclimation status: do not keep outdoors if temp. is less than 50 F

    • Rabbits:

      • temp. > 90 F artificial cooling shall be provided (sprinkler system)

  • Shelter from cold weather:

    • Dogs and cats: below 50 F

    • Rabbits: below 40 F

    • NHP: below 45 F


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Part 3- Standards

  • Primary enclosures:

    • Dogs, Cats, & NHP: must be structurally sound and maintained in good repair

      • contain & protect from injury

      • allow animals to remain dry & clean

      • easy access to food and water

      • protection from extreme cold and heat

      • surfaces to be cleaned/sanitized readily

    • Dogs & Cats:

      • innovative enclosure that do not precisely meet floor area and height may be used; must be approved by IACUC


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Part 3- Standards

  • Cats:

    • must provide receptacle with clean litter

    • space requirements:

      • 24 in. high

      • < 8.8 lb or 4 kg must have 3.0 sq. ft.

      • > 8.8 lb or 4 kg must have 4.0 sq. ft.

      • queens with litters must have additional space

      • minimum floor space excludes food/water pan, but includes litter box

    • each primary enclosure must contain an elevated resting surface

    • no more than 12 adult cats may be housed in same primary enclosure


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Part 3- Standards

  • Dogs:

    • Interior height must be at least 6 inches higher than the head of the tallest dog when it is in normal standing position

    • Minimum floor space:

      • Equal to the square of the sum of the length of the dog in inches (measured from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail) plus 6 inches, expressed in square feet (divide by 144).

      • Dog measuring 30 inches, would be 36 x 36/144 = 9 sq. ft.

      • NOTE: Differs from Guide (based on wt. of dog)

    • No more than 12 adult dogs in same enclosure


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Part 3- Standards

  • Nonhuman primates:

    • Minimum space requirements must be met even if perches or swings are placed in the enclosure

    • based on typical wt. of species

    • ranges from Group 1-Group 6

    • Group 6 includes great apes < 50 kg and brachiating species

    • Great apes > 50kg must have additional space for normal postural adjustments

    • Smaller innovative enclosures may be used but must be approved by IACUC/Administrator


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Part 3- Standards

  • Guinea pigs:

    • cage interior height: 7 inches

    • minimum floor space: 60 sq. in. < 350 gr and 101 sq. in. > 350 gr

  • Hamsters:

    • cage interior height: 6 inches

    • minimum floor space: see AWA

    • no other hamster may be kept in an enclosure with nursing female and litter

  • Rabbits:

    • minimum interior height: 14 in.

    • minimum floor space: see AWA


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Part 3- Standards

  • Environmental enhancement to promote psychological well-being:

    • dealers, exhibitors, and research facilities must follow and document a plan for EE and must be directed by attending veterinarian

    • The plan must address:

      • Social grouping (conspecifics)

      • Environmental enrichment: species typical activity

      • Special considerations: juveniles, psychological distress

      • Restraint devices: must not be used unless required by protocol (restraint > 12 hrs. must give 1 hr. unrestrained daily)


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Part 3- Standards

  • Environmental enhancement to promote psychological well-being (con’t):

    • exemptions:

      • Veterinarian may exempt animals for reasons of health, condition, or well-being

      • IACUC may exempt for scientific reasons

      • Records of exemptions must be made available to USDA and federal agencies


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Part 3- Standards

  • Dog Exercise Program:

    • dealers, exhibitors, and research facilities must have appropriate documented plan to provide dogs with the opportunity for exercise

    • must be approved by attending veterinarian

    • plan must have written standard procedure


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Dog Exercise Program

  • All dogs individually housed with less than 2 times required floor space must be provided regular opportunity for exercise

  • Dogs that are group housed do not require additional opportunity for exercise if floor space is equal to at least 100% of the required floor for each individual dog


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Dog Exercise Program

  • Exemptions:

    • Attending veterinarian decision for reasons of health, condition, or well-being

      • exemption must be documented and reviewed at least every 30 days

    • Scientific reasons

      • must be documented in IACUC approved protocol


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Animal Health & Husbandry

  • Feeding:

    • animal must be fed at least once daily

    • food containers for all species must be sanitized at least every 2 wks.

  • Watering:

    • if potable water is not accessible at all times, potable liquids must be offered at least twice daily for at least 1 hr. each time

    • water receptacles sanitized at least every 2 wks.


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Animal Health & Husbandry

  • Sanitation:

    • effective program for control of insects, ectoparasites, and vermin shall be maintained

    • dogs, cats, and nonhuman primates:

      • excreta and food waste must be removed from primary enclosures daily

      • enclosures should be sanitized at least every 2 wks.

      • Hard surfaces can be cleaned by cage washer, live steam under pressure, or detergent and disinfectant


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Animal Health & Husbandry

  • Guinea pigs and hamsters:

    • enclosures must be cleaned and sanitized at least every 2 wks.

  • Rabbits:

    • enclosures must be cleaned and sanitized at least every 30 days

    • underlying pans or troughs shall be cleaned at least once a week


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Transportation Standards

  • Carriers and intermediate handlers may not accept animals for transportation more than 4 hrs. before departure

  • Must be accompanied by health certificate signed by vet. within 10 days of shipment

  • Temperature of terminal facility must be lower than 45 F for more than 4 hrs. when animals are present


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Transportation Standards

  • Primary enclosures used to transport live animals:

    • Interior must be free of any protrusions

    • Openings must be easily accessible for emergencies

    • adequate handholds for lifting must be located on exterior

    • Enclosures: must have words “Live Animals” or “Wild Animals” printed in letters at least 1 inch high on top and one side


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Transportation Standards

  • Food and water requirements (must be affixed to outside of enclosure):

    • Dogs, cats, NHP:

      • must be offered water and food within 4 hrs. of transportation

      • water must be offered at least every 12 hrs.

      • NHP > 1 yr., dogs and cats > 16 wks must be fed at least once every 24 hrs.

      • NHP < 1 yr., dogs and cats < 16 wks must be fed at least once every 12 hrs.

    • Guinea pigs, hamster, and rabbits:

      • animals in transit for more than 6 hrs. must have access to food and water or type of food to satisfy their needs during transit (Transgel)


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Transportation Standards

  • Guinea pigs, hamster, and rabbits:

    • Maximum allowable number of animals which can be transported in one enclosure:

      • Guinea pigs: 15

      • Rabbits: 15

      • Hamsters: 50


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Transportation Standards

  • Care in Transit:

    • Surface Transportation:

      • Animals must be observed at least every 4 hrs. to assure proper ventilation, temperature, or physical distress

    • Air Transportation:

      • Animals must be observed at least every 4 hrs. if the animal cargo area is accessible during flight. If not, must be observed during loading and unloading


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Terminal Facilities

  • Ventilation and Temperature:

    • Dogs, Cats, NHP (same for primary conveyances):

      • ventilation must be provided by windows, doors, vents, etc.

      • auxiliary ventilation must be used when the temp. > 85 F in holding area

      • ambient temp. must not exceed 85 F nor fall below 45 F for more than 4 consecutive hrs. when animals are present

    • Duration:

      • must not be held at terminal facility for more than 24 hrs. if consignee cannot be notified, but 48 hrs. if fails to take physical possession


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Terminal Facilities

  • Ventilation and Temperature:

    • Guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, other warm blooded animals (same for primary conveyances):

      • ventilation must be provided by windows, doors, vents, etc.

      • auxiliary ventilation must be used when the temp. > 75 F in holding area

      • ambient temp. must not exceed 85 F nor fall below 45 F for more than 4 consecutive hrs. when animals are present