Oversight of VA Research with Animals
In the United States, all research with animals is subject to the Animal Welfare Act (United States Code, Title 7, Chapter 54, Sections 2131-2159). The Act is administered and enforced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) by the Animal Care program unit (AC) of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), applying the Animal Welfare Regulations (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 9, Chapter I).
The Health Research Extension Act (Public Law 99-158) requires all research that is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to comply with the Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. The Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) is responsible for implementing PHS Policy. In the interest of maintaining standards of animal care at least consistent with those required for research supported by NIH, VA has voluntarily arranged an agreement with the PHS for OLAW to apply PHS Policy to VA research, even when no NIH funding is involved.
The VA stations where research with dogs was being conducted were inspected by OLAW in late 2018. See OLAW’s January 3, 2019 report about the results of those inspections, as well as the notice announcing the release of that report and links to numerous publications and reports from OLAW (including this one) .
AAALAC International is “a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs”. It is VA policy that all VA facilities where research is conducted with animals must achieve and maintain accreditation by AAALAC International.
AAALAC International maintains a publicly available directory of accredited programs.