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


  • Who conducts the inspections at USDA registered or licensed facilities?
    • Enforcement of the AWA and HPA is accomplished by about 120 field-based employees who are strategically located throughout the 50 States and Territories. They are either veterinary medical officers (VMOs) or animal care inspectors (ACIs). Some specialize in the care of various species or in the areas of nutrition, research, or transportation. All VMOs are graduates of a veterinary medical college, and many have been private-practice veterinarians prior to joining Animal Care. ACIs have education in the biological sciences and/or extensive experience in the care and handling of animals. Registered research facilities are only inspected by a VMO. (Source: USDA, APHIS Program Aid No. 1866 About APHIS’ Animal Care Program)
  • What happens if an inspector finds a violation of the animal welfare regulations?
    • If an inspection reveals deficiencies in meeting the AWA standards or regulations, the inspector either instructs the facility to correct the problems within a given timeframe or, in serious cases of negligence or suffering, recommends formal legal action.
  • If I don’t agree with something on the inspection report, can I file an appeal?
    • Yes, USDA has established a formal appeals process. You can find more information about it by reading the Appeals Process Factsheet.