2005 Enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act:
Whose Side is the USDA on?

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2005 Enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act: Whose Side is the USDA on?
By Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director, SAEN
[email protected] 


The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is the primary piece of legislation that regulates the existence of animals held within entities such as zoos, laboratories, and animal dealers. The AWA is enforced by the Animal Care (AC) division of the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

While it is difficult to assess the effectiveness of many laws or their enforcement, it is still possible to examine trends in violations of these laws, and their enforcement. In order to begin this assessment, information from the USDA/APHIS Animal Care website has been examined. This data delineates the number of times during a year that the AWA was violated as well as the number of animals effected by each violation. The trends in these statistics, as well as information from an audit of the activities of APHIS by the USDA Office of the Inspector General, have been included in this report. Lastly, information issued by the USDA in the form of statistics regarding the use of animals in laboratories will be assessed (in general terms) for accuracy. The main focus of this information assessment will be to determine the dependability of the data available from the USDA/APHIS/AC.

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