USDA Policy #29- Adoption Of Ag Guide

Policy #29: Farm Animals Used for Nonagricultural Purposes

February 11, 2000

References: AWA Section 2, 13, 9 CFR, Part 3, Subpart F

History: This is a new policy. Farm animals used in activities regulated under the AWA are maintained in both agricultural and nonagricultural environments. Animal Care inspectors, the research and exhibition communities, as well as other members of the public, have requested that we provide more specific guidance than what the regulations contain for the humane care of farm animals used in regulated activities.

Justification: The AWA authorizes APHIS to regulate farm animals, such as cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats, when the animals are used for biomedical or other nonagricultural research or nonagricultural exhibition. In light of the increased use of farm animals for covered purposes and because the needs of farm animals can be different from other kinds of animals typically used in research and exhibition, we developed this policy.

Policy:This policy offers guidance on how regulated entities can comply with the standards in the regulations as they apply to farm animals. Animal Care has adopted two guides, the “Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Research and Teaching,” published by the Federation of Animal Science Societies, and the “Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals,” published by the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR). The two publications are commonly known as the “Ag Guide” and the “ILAR Guide,” respectively.

We adopted these two specific guides because they represent the most current scientific information available on handling, housing, care, treatment, and transportation of farm animals for nonagricultural purposes. They are widely used, are the most complete guides available, are relatively inexpensive and easily obtained, and are being used by most institutions that receive funding from the Public Health Service or are accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC International).

The Ag Guide contains recommendations to ensure the humane care of farm animals that are maintained in agricultural or typical farm-like settings. It contains principles that apply to all farm animals, as well as species specific recommendations. The ILAR Guide is a general guide that recommends practices that may be applied to the care and use of farm animals when they are housed in typical laboratory settings. 

Regulated entities may use applicable sections of the guides to supplement their understanding of how to meet the standards in the regulations. Use of these guides should help ensure consistent enforcement by Animal Care inspectors.

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