The Animal Welfare Act: from enactment to enforcement

J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2012 May;51(3):301-5.


Originally enacted in 1966, the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act has been amended several times and renamed the Animal Welfare Act. Responsibility for administering the Animal Welfare Act was delegated within the United States Department of Agriculture to the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and regulations and standards have been developed to implement the intent of Congress conveyed in the language of the Act. In our opinion, the key to compliance with the Animal Welfare Act and its regulations and standards is to have in place a proactive, progressive Animal Care and Use Program that uses the semiannual inspection and programmatic review process to improve the day-to-day management of the program. Successfully managing the inspection process has taken on new meaning in what has recently become known as the 'Age of Enforcement.' As part of this approach, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service made changes to the inspection process and issued an Enhanced Animal Welfare Enforcement Plan, which included the development of an Inspection Requirements Handbook. The Inspection Requirements Handbook provides inspectors with information on conducting inspections and includes as an attachment a flow chart for Enforcement Action Guidance. The chart describes 4 types of actions that may occur as part of the enforcement process and the steps that will be followed if noncompliant items are documented during an inspection.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Animal Welfare / history*
  • Animal Welfare / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Animal Welfare / standards
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic*
  • Animals, Laboratory*
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • United States
  • United States Department of Agriculture