About AWIC

The Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC) is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Library (NAL) in Beltsville, Maryland. The Center was established in 1986.


Congress' mission for the Center was clearly provided in the 1985 amendments to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA):

  • The Secretary [of Agriculture] shall establish an information service at the National Agricultural Library. Such service shall, in cooperation with the National Library of Medicine, provide information--
    • (1) pertinent to employee training;
    • (2) which could prevent unintended duplication of animal experimentation as determined by the needs of the research facility; and
    • (3) on improved methods of animal experimentation, including methods which could--
      • (A) reduce or replace animal use; and
      • (B) minimize pain and distress to animals, such as anesthetic and analgesic procedures.

The focus of the Center's information products, services, and activities is to help the regulated community with employee training and to promote the humane care and use of animals by providing information on alternatives (improved methods of animal experimentation which could reduce or replace animal use or minimize pain and distress to animals). AWIC also provides support to other USDA agencies such as the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Animal Care and the Agricultural Research Service.



Outreach services include conducting workshops both at NAL and outside facilities for researchers concerned with meeting the requirements of the AWA, exhibiting at animal-related scientific meetings, giving presentations on AWA-related topics. The workshop- Meeting the Information Requirements of the Animal Welfare Act -teaches scientists and information providers how to meet USDA regulatory requirements to ensure approval of animal use protocols. It provides participants with definitions of the 3Rs of alternatives (reduction, refinement and replacement), introduces the concept of multi-database searching, and teaches how to design and run a search for alternatives.


Information specialists at the Center are available for talks and presentations on a variety of topics including the current Animal Welfare Act and historical perspectives, complying with USDA Animal Care Policy #12, and understanding the 3Rs of alternatives (reduction, refinement and replacement). 


The Center also provides literature searching assistance to the regulated community. AWIC information specialists are available to help you create and run a literature search for alternatives. Contact us for more information.


The Animal Welfare Information Center Bulletin (formerly Newsletter) was distributed by the National Agricultural Library (NAL). The Bulletin provided information on animal welfare to investigators, technicians, administrators, exhibitors, and the public.


View and search archived versions of all issues of the AWIC Bulletin.


Mention of commercial enterprises or brand names does not constitute endorsement or imply preference by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Articles appearing in this newsletter do not necessarily represent positions or policies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or any agency thereof.

Many of the issues contain hypertext links to authors and organizations mentioned in the documents. While the links were active at time of publication, they may not be current now.