Institutions that receive support from the Public Health Service (PHS) for activities involving live, vertebrate animals are subjected to the authority of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and must operate an animal care and use program with clear lines of authority and responsibility. The program must include:
- A properly constituted Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC);
- Procedures for self-monitoring;
- An adequate veterinary care program;
- An occupational health and safety program;
- An environmental, housing, and management program for animals; and
- Appropriately maintained facilities for housing and support.
The PHS policy requires an institutional Animal Welfare Assurance that provides details on the institutional program in order to award funds. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires that animal research facilities be registered with the agency. The University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, is currently registered with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under registration number 94-R-0103, as required by AWA. This registration is renewed every three years. Our campus also has an Animal Welfare Assurance #D16-00165 with the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), as required by the PHS policy. This assurance is renewed every four years.