7. What are the laws that regulate the care and use of laboratory animals?

The use of laboratory animals is one of the most regulated uses of animals in the United States, as well as other countries. In the U.S., the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHS Policy) regulate the use of laboratory animals. The PHS policy requires compliance with the guidelines and standards in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.  Massachusetts also has its own regulations on treatment of animals.

All institutions using AWA-covered animals must register with the USDA. The USDA inspects institutions’ animal facilities at least annually and may inspect at any time without prior notice. The results of these inspections are posted publicly on the USDA website. The university renewed its registration with the USDA in 2020 and renewed its NIH Animal Welfare Assurance in 2018. 

Both registrations include specifics about the housing, daily husbandry, veterinary care, emergency coverage, training of all personnel involved with the animals, and maintenance of physical facilities. Both require the active participation of the attending laboratory animal veterinarian and an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

Animal Use policy at UMass Amherst applies standards required by these federal regulations equally to all vertebrate animal used for research and teaching.

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