Statutes & Regulations

Primary Laws & Regulations

There are two acts that are of particular importance for investigators at USF and its affiliated institutions who work with live vertebrates in research and educational settings; they are the Animal Welfare Act and the Health Research Extension Act of 1985. Combined, these acts provide regulatory coverage of all live vertebrates used in research, testing and teaching and mandate the creation of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

Animal Welfare Act (AWA)

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) as found in the US Code, title 7, chapter 54, sections 2131-2159 - Deals with the interstate movement and commercial activities involving various species of animals. The AWA also regulates supply and care of animals destined for research facilities or exhibition. The AWA delegates regulatory oversight to the Animal Care Office within the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Additional information and resources are available at the Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC).

The AWA defines "animal" as any live or dead dog, cat, nonhuman primate, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, or any warm blooded animal used for research, teaching, testing, experimentation, or exhibition purposes, or as a pet. By definition, cold blooded species (amphibians and reptiles) are exempt from coverage under the AWA. The AWA further excludes the following:

  • Birds, rats of the genus Rattus, and mice of the genus Mus, bred for use in research;
  • Horses not used for research purposes;
  • Farm animals, including livestock and poultry, used or intended for use as food or fiber or in agricultural research;
  • Fish; and
  • Invertebrates (crustaceans, insects).

The Animal Welfare Regulations (PDF) is found in the US Code, Title 9, Chapter 1, Subchapter A, Parts 1-4

Health Research Extension Act (HREA)

The Health Research Extension Act of 1985 (Public Law 99-158) amended the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 201) and calls for the proper care of animals, the proper treatment of animals (including proper veterinary medical support and nursing care); and the organization and operation of animal care and use committees. The HREA covers the use of ALL live vertebrates and delegates oversight to the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), National Institutes of Health. The regulatory guidance for the HREA can be found in Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PDF).