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Housing, Care and Welfare of Animals

What is Animal Welfare?

Animal welfare refers to how an animal copes with its environment. To assess an animal's well-being, you must consider multiple factors such as, its biological functioning (i.e. health), emotional state, and its ability to express natural behaviors. It's important to provide animals with positive welfare to support their mental and physical needs and increase their quality of life. 

Animal Welfare in Federal Regulations

To meet the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the regulated community (any personnel working with animals in research, teaching, and testing) must provide animals with adequate housing, nutrition, water, handling, ventilation, sanitation, and veterinary care (7 U.S.C. § 1752(a)(2)(2022)). The Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC) is authorized under the AWA to provide information that helps the regulated community meet these requirements. The information below provides guidance regarding housing, care and welfare regulations for various species used in research, teaching, and testing.


These pages provide more detailed information about animal care and welfare.

Guides for Animal Care and Use

These guides share care and use guidelines for laboratory and agricultural animals in research.

Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals

NIH. Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.

The purpose of the 8th edition Guide is to "assist institutions in caring for and using animals in ways judged to be scientifically, technically, and humanely appropriate." Any researchers who receive NIH funding must follow these guidelines.

Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching

Federation for Animal Science Societies (FASS). 

The 4th edition (updated in 2020) of this guide provides up-to-date scientific information regarding the care and use of agricultural animals being used in research and teaching. 

Animal Housing and Care Resources from Around the World

  • Canadian Council of Animal Care Guidelines

    Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC). 

    CCAC shares in depth guidance for housing and care of various species from laboratory animals to captive wildlife.

  • Guidelines for the Housing of Animals in Scientific Institutions (Australia)

    NSW Department of Primary Industries. Animal Research Review Panel (ARRP).

    Published scientific information and practices are used to write best practice standards for housing research animals. 

  • The Macaque Website

    National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs).

    Knowledge of the natural history and behavior of Macaques can be used to assess their welfare and improve their care and management in captivity. 

  • Common Marmoset Care

    University of Stirling, Primate Society of Great Britain, and National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement, & Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs).

    Videos and images can be used to learn about common Marmoset behavior and how to care for them in captivity.

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