The Animal Welfare Act was signed into law in 1966. It is the only Federal law in the United States that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers. Other laws, policies, and guidelines may include additional species coverage or specifications for animal care and use, but all refer to the Animal Welfare Act as the minimum acceptable standard. The Act is enforced by the USDA.
The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) outlines the minimal standards of care for certain animals used in research, bred for commercial sale, transported, and/or exhibited to the public. The Animal Welfare Regulations offer more specific requirements determined by the species of animal involved, and include details on items such as housing, proper handling, sanitation, nutrition, temperature, transport, and veterinary care. In addition, the regulations specify the licensing and reporting requirements for USDA-licensed facilities and outline the functions of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs).
Click here to read more the Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations on the USDA’s website.
 Animal Welfare Act. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved July 21, 2014, from http://awic.nal.usda.gov/government-and-professional-resources/federal-laws/animal-welfare-act