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Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC)

About AWIC

The Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC) was established in 1986 as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Library (NAL) in Beltsville, Maryland. As a library service, AWIC provides information, products and services related to the improved care and use of animals in research, testing, and teaching as described in the Animal Welfare Act.

Who is AWIC?

An Introduction to AWIC

This introductory video provides insight into who the Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC) is and what the Center does for those regulated under the Animal Welfare Act. It also describes the history of when and why AWIC was created as an information service at the USDA's National Agricultural Library.


Language in the 1985 amendments to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) described Congress' vision for the Center:

The Secretary [of Agriculture] shall establish an information service at the National Agriculture 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 —
    • reduce or replace animal use; and 
    • minimize pain and distress to animals, such as anesthetic and analgesic procedures. 

Therefore, AWIC's products and services aim to help the regulated community with employee training and 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). 

Key Products and Services

Animal Welfare Act Historical Digital Collection (AWAHDC)

The AWAHDC contains publications related to the Animal Welfare Act which fall into three categories: legislative history, regulatory history, and USDA publications.

Workshops on Meeting the Requirements of the Animal Welfare Act

AWIC's free virtual and in-person workshops focus on the Animal Welfare Act and its requirements, 3Rs alternatives, and alternatives literature searching. Customizable trainings are also available upon request. 

3Rs Alternatives Literature Search Support

AWIC provides free alternatives literature searching services, as well as instruction and best practices for performing an alternatives literature search. Find resources such as pre-made search strings on animal welfare and animal use alternatives


Upcoming Events

Contact Us

We are unable to provide a diagnosis of animal injury or illness or advice on animal health issues. Consult with your veterinarian instead

For questions: Use the National Agricultural Library's Ask a Question form. 

Questions are answered by information specialists with education in the biological sciences, knowledge of animal welfare laws and regulations, and experience in the care and management of animals used in research and teaching. 

For literature search requests: Fill out the request form and email


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