History of Animal Welfare Regulations

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A 1966 Life magazine feature titled “Concentration Camps for Dogs,” along with other works published
around this time, dramatized poor care and treatment of
animals by some dealers who sold animals for biomedical research.
This disclosure and the ensuing public outcry
resulted in the

introduction of twenty-nine bills in the U.S.
Congress relating to the regulation of animal research.
The bill that eventually became law was the Laboratory Animal
Welfare Act of 1966 (LAWA; in 1970, after passage of
the first amendments, the name was shortened to the
Animal Welfare

Act, or AWA). This act was limited to
regulation of the sale and transportation of animals by dealers
and the holding of animals by certain research facilities.
Although the bill was

passed, it was a compromise between
far-reaching legislation and none at all; it did not apply to actual
research usage of animals. The regulations implementing the LAWA
specified

that the housing facility provide shelter and
protection from temperature extremes, that food and water be
provided at least daily, and that cages be of a certain
size and cleaned

daily. These regulations also specified cage
sizes and frequency of feeding and watering during transportation.

Passage of amendments in 1970, 1976, 1985, and
1990 and of a law calling for the PHS policy extended
federal regulations into areas covering the appropriate use and
humane treatment of laboratory animals. The 1966 law
regulated dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and
nonhuman

primates. The 1970 amendment broadened it to
include all warm-blooded animals, but regulations excluded
birds, rats, and mice.

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