Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING AMONG
APHIS Agreement No. 11-6100-0027-MU
The participating agencies share a common concern for the care and welfare of laboratory animals used in research and testing. Each agency, operating under its own authority, has specific responsibilities for fostering proper animal care and welfare. This agreement sets forth a framework for reciprocal cooperation which will assist each agency in meeting its responsibilities in promoting proper laboratory animal care and welfare. Implementation of this agreement is intended to maintain and enhance agency effectiveness while avoiding duplication of efforts to achieve required standards for the care and use of laboratory animals.
II. AGENCY RESPONSIBILITIES
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA
Primary responsibility for the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is assigned to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Implementing regulations of the AWA are established in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 9, Chapter 1, Subchapter A, Parts 1, 2, and 3. The Department has regulatory responsibility to enforce the implementing regulations. The USDA regulations establish standards for the humane treatment of laboratory animals and a registration/licensing procedure for identifying institutions that breed, sell, transport, hold, and use such animals. Compliance with the USDA regulations is monitored by an active inspection program that provides for periodic inspections by veterinary medical officers or suitably trained paraprofessionals. Serious noncompliance is dealt with by procedures that range from civil penalties, to the issuance of "cease and desist" orders, to the confiscation of animals.
Food and Drug Administration, HHS
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also involved in ensuring proper procedures for the care and use of laboratory animals. The source statute is the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act as implemented by the Good Laboratory Practice Regulations (21 CFR Part 58). These regulations establish standards for the proper conduct of non-clinical laboratory studies that include animals. Compliance is assessed through an active program of periodic inspections carried out by trained field inspectors. Serious noncompliance is dealt with by procedures ranging from study rejection to laboratory disqualification.
National Institutes of Health, HHS
The Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), Office of Extramural Research, National Institutes of Health (NIH), is responsible for the implementation and general administration of the Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHS Policy). The PHS Policy implements the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 (Public Law 99-158), and is based on the U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training. Standards for institutional programs and facilities are described in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Institutions receiving PHS support must have an OLAW approved Animal Welfare Assurance that describes the institutional program and sets forth institutional compliance with PHS Policy. OLAW fosters compliance through the Assurance mechanism and a national education program, and monitors compliance by evaluating institutional reports of noncompliance. Institutions are required to correct confirmed noncompliance and institute appropriate measures to prevent repeated noncompliance. Potential sanctions for continued noncompliance appear in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, Part II, under authority derived from 45 CFR § 74.14 and 42 CFR § 52.9.
III. SHARED CONCERNS
USDA, FDA, and NIH share a common concern for the care and use of laboratory animals, although there are necessary operational differences among the animal welfare programs of the cooperating agencies. Congress acknowledged the need for transagency cooperation in the AWA by calling for the Secretary of Agriculture to consult and cooperate with other Federal departments and agencies concerned with the welfare of animals used in research, and to consult with the Secretary of Health and Human Services prior to the issuance of regulations.
Common program features include the promulgation of standards and policies aimed at promoting laboratory animal welfare, the maintenance of registries/inventories of institutions and facilities subject to agency policies and regulations, the periodic conduct of routine and "for cause" inspections or site visits, efforts designed to promote voluntary compliance, and the application of a range of sanctions when necessary.
Interagency cooperation provides an excellent opportunity to bolster individual agency efforts, achieve program benefits, and facilitate program operations. A mutually shared perspective on acceptable standards of laboratory animal care presents a consistent Federal approach and fosters compliance by regulated entities.IV. SUBSTANCE OF AGREEMENT
The cooperating agencies agree to share information of mutual concern and interest regarding animal welfare. Specific agency responsibilities under this Memorandum of Understanding are detailed below.
A. The cooperating agencies agree to share information contained in their respective registries/inventories/listings of organizations that fall under their purview.
V. STANDING COMMITTEE
To facilitate implementation of this agreement, the cooperating agencies each agree to designate a liaison officer to serve on a standing committee that will meet as needed, but no less than twice per year. Matters for consideration by the standing committee are to include a review of each agency's participation in this agreement, an assessment of the agreement's effectiveness, and modifications that might be necessary. As appropriate, the committee will address urgent issues and specific cases of serious noncompliance.
VII. LIAISON OFFICERS
For the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service:
Chester Gipson, D.V.M.
For the Food and Drug Administration:
Pamela L. Chamberlain D.V.M, D.A.B.T., Ph.D.
For the National Institutes of Health:
Patricia A. Brown, V.M.D., M.S.
VIII. PERIOD OF AGREEMENT
This agreement becomes effective on the date of last signature and continues for 5 years. It may be modified by mutual written consent of the three parties. The agreement may be terminated by any party upon a 90-day advance written notice to the other parties. At the conclusion of 5 years the three parties will consider the development of a new agreement.
IX. ACCEPTANCE AND APPROVAL OF AUTHORIZING OFFICIALS
For the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA:
For the Food and Drug Administration, HHS:
For the National Institutes of Health, HHS: