The Animal Welfare Act


The Animal Welfare Act is the federal law that governs the humane care, handling, treatment and transportation of some animals in certain situations: animals in laboratories, dealers who sell animals to laboratories, animal exhibitors, carriers and intermediate handlers, dog and cat breeders, puppy mills, zoos, circuses, roadside menageries and transporters of animals. The Animal Welfare Act does not protect animals during an experiment, regardless of how painful or even unnecessary it is. Excluded from the act are the following: retail pet stores, state and county fairs, livestock shows, rodeos, purebred dog and cat shows and "fairs and exhibitions intended to advance agricultural arts and sciences."


The Animal Welfare Act (Laboratory Animal Welfare Act of 1966, P.L. 89-544) 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 was amended six times (1970, 1976, 1985, 1990, 2002, 2007) and is enforced by the USDA, APHIS, and Animal Care agency.

Animal Care Policy Manual By USDA. APHIS. Animal Care.
The policy manual gives policies issued by APHIS/Animal Care that clarify the Animal Welfare Act regulations. Among the topics covered are "Written Narrative for Alternatives to Painful Procedures", "Space and Exercise Requirements for Traveling Exhibitors", and "Annual Report for Research Facilities". Originally issued in April 1997, new policies may be added at any time and included in the manual.

Also read:
Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations USA
Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations UK
Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations New Zealand
Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
In Defense of Animals (IDA)
Dealers, Exhibitors, Transporters, and Researchers Guidelines
Legislation and licensing federal law
Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
Animal specific laws to each state