Committee Reports

Report on Animal Welfare in Agricultural Research Endeavors Act (AWARE Act)


The Animal Law Committee (Lori Barrett, Chair) issued a report in support of the Animal Welfare in Agricultural Research Endeavors Act (AWARE Act), which would expand the protections of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to require humane treatment of farm animals used in federal research facilities. The AWA regulates the use and treatment of animals in research, exhibition and for use as pets. Currently, the AWA excludes farm animals—i.e.,“livestock or poultry used or intended for use as food or fiber, or livestock or poultry used or intended for use for improving animal nutrition, breeding, management, or production efficiency, or for improving the quality of food or fiber”—from coverage under the act. Thus, federal research facilities using farm animals are not required to comply with the standards for humane treatment under the AWA that research facilities using other types of animals must follow. The proposal would address inconsistencies in the current law, which does not regulate the treatment of farm animals in federal research facilities even though such animals are just as susceptible to pain and suffering as non-farm animals, and which defines “farm animal” not just by its species but also on the animal’s intended use, which means that the same type of animal may be subject to the protections of the AWA in certain contexts but not others.