Does the Animal Welfare Act apply to free-ranging animals?

ILAR Journal



Despite the long-standing role that institutional animal care and use committees (IACUCs) have played in reviewing and approving studies at academic institutions, compliance with the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is not always complete for government natural resource agencies that use free-ranging animals in research and management studies. Even at universities, IACUCs face uncertainties about what activities are covered and about how to judge proposed research on free-ranging animals. One reason for much of the confusion is the AWA vaguely worded exemption for "field studies." In particular, fish are problematic because of the AWA exclusion of poikilothermic animals. However, most university IACUCs review studies on all animals, and the Interagency Research Animal Committee (IRAC) has published the "IRAC Principles," which extend coverage to all vertebrates used by federal researchers. Despite this extended coverage, many scientists working on wild animals continue to view compliance with the AWA with little enthusiasm. IACUCs, IACUC veterinarians, wildlife veterinarians, and fish and wildlife biologists must learn to work together to comply with the law and to protect the privilege of using free-ranging animals in research.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Does the Animal Welfare Act apply to free-ranging animals?
Series title ILAR Journal
DOI 10.1093/ilar.44.4.252
Volume 44
Issue 4
Year Published 2003
Language English
Publisher Oxford Journals
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 7 p.
First page 252
Last page 258
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