Where the Animals are Used
All over the country, usually hidden from public view behind “high security” laboratory doors, animals can become another piece of laboratory equipment in hospitals, university laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, farms and other agricultural facilities, military facilities, and private commercial research laboratories that provide animal testing services to various industries.
According the U. S. Department of Agriculture, institutions using any regulated live animals for research, testing, teaching, or experimentation must register with the USDA as “research facilities.” If the institution is part of a larger organization, the parent organization must acquire the registration. Individual researchers and their attending veterinarians are required to make sure that their institution is legally registered and all USDA regulations and standards are followed.
Procedures included under research, testing, teaching, or experimentation are:
- Investigations on animal propagation and control—such as wildlife ecology;
- Laboratory tests—including pregnancy tests, allergy tests, and other diagnostic procedures;
- Quality-control studies—such as studies on the safety, effectiveness, durability, or other quality tests of commercial products; and
- College instruction—whether for research, or education for the improvement of medical treatment techniques and methods.
State-Owned and Local Government Facilities: Public research institutions administered and/or funded by a state or local government must be registered. State-run or locally run institutions do not have to be licensed as dealers, even if they sell or trade regulated animals, but they must be licensed as exhibitors if they exhibit animals.
Private research or testing institutions must be registered as research facilities. If private institutions sell, exhibit, or trade regulated animals to others, the institutions must be licensed as animal dealers or exhibitors.
Drug Firms: Manufacturers of vaccines, drugs, and other medicines must be registered as research facilities if they do research, development, or quality-control tests on regulated animals. Institutions must be registered under the Animal Welfare Act, even if they have USDA establishment licenses to produce biologics under the Virus–Serum– Toxin Act. APHIS enforces both acts, and the same inspector may check for compliance with both laws.
Teaching Institutions: Facilities involved in using animals for teaching purposes above the secondary-school level must be registered under the Animal Welfare Act—for example, college or university medical schools, veterinary schools, biology departments, etc.
Diagnostic Laboratories: All diagnostic laboratories using regulated animals must be registered.
Marine Mammal Facilities: Facilities using marine mammals for behavioral, biomedical, and related studies must be registered. (If the facility is open as an exhibit to the public, it must also be licensed as an exhibitor.) The same standards of animal care required for exhibitors apply to marine mammal research facilities.
Federal Facilities: Agencies of the federal government that do research are not required to register with USDA and are not inspected by APHIS, but each federal agency is responsible for complying with all USDA standards of animal care and for submitting an annual report to USDA on the use of regulated laboratory animals. Federal agencies that exhibit regulated animals are not required to be licensed but are inspected by USDA.
School Laboratories: Elementary, secondary, and all other schools below the college level are, by law, exempt from registration.
Agricultural Research Institutions: Research institutions that perform work involving food, fiber, or agriculture and that use horses and domestic farm animals, including rabbits, are exempt by regulation and do not have to be registered. However, if such institutions are doing nonagricultural biomedical research, they do need to be registered.
Institutions Using Only Biologic Specimens: If only dead biologic specimens—no live animals—are used, an institution is exempt. Suppliers of dead specimens made from regulated animals or dead animals, however, have to be licensed as dealers.
Institutions Using Only Non-Regulated Species: A research institution is exempt if it uses only laboratory animals exempted by law or regulation. Examples are birds and domestic rats and mice. Wild species of rats and mice are regulated.
Source: Unites States Department of Agriculture