The privilege of using animals in research and the common concern for the care and welfare of laboratory animals used in research and testing falls under the jurisdiction of three different government agencies and is subject to three Congressional Acts. The primary responsibility for the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is assigned to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
This act details requirements for the care and use of animals in research, testing and education. Institutions are licensed and must report yearly their animal use and describe their animal care program. Implementing regulations of the AWA are established in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 9, Chapter 1, Subchapter A, Parts 1, 2, and 3. Unannounced inspections of facilities covered by the AWA are performed annually by the USDA APHIS Inspector.