Overview

USDA Inspections: Overview
USDA Inspections   Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees

Overview

In the 1985 amendment to the Animal Welfare Act, Congress inserted the sentence: “SEC. 1753. Section 16(a) of the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. 2146(a)) is amended by inserting after the first sentence the following: "The Secretary shall inspect each research facility at least once each year and, in the case of deficiencies or deviations from the standards promulgated under this Act, shall conduct such follow-up inspections as may be necessary until all deficiencies or deviations from such standards are corrected."”

During hearings on the Improved Standards for Laboratory Animals Act, Representative George Brown (D-California), a sponsor of the legislation and chair of the hearings, cited a report (GAO/RCED-85-8MAY 16,1985 ) from the General Accounting Office (now the Government Accountability Office) on the inconsistency of USDA inspections of research facilities and the lack of record keeping on those inspections. Subsequently, the law was amended to include mandatory once-a-year inspections.

“Highly-trained USDA inspectors, located throughout the United States, conduct routine, unannounced inspections of all facilities licensed/registered under the Animal Welfare Act to make sure these facilities are adhering to the standards set forth in the federal regulations. Inspectors are classified as veterinary medical officers (VMOs) or Animal Care inspectors (ACIs). All VMOs have graduated from a veterinary medical college, and many have been private-practice veterinarians prior to joining USDA Animal Care. ACIs have education in the biological sciences and/or extensive experience in the care and handling of animals. USDA Animal Care also employs veterinarians who specialize in the care of particular animal species as well as those with a specific area of animal expertise such as research or transportation.” (Source: Animal Welfare Act)