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External Oversight of Animal Welfare

Three main agencies participate in the external oversight of the use of animals in research, training and teaching at Wake Forest University: 1. the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); 2. the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); and 3. the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC).

  1. The USDA ensures compliance with the Animal Welfare Act. Wake Forest University is inspected at least yearly by the USDA, during which the USDA Veterinary Medical Officer conducts random, unannounced inspections of WFU animal facilities, including individual laboratories, to observe and discuss animal protocols.  The Veterinary Medical Officer provides an inspection report after each inspection.  An annual report on the WFU animal program is provided to the USDA to maintain the USDA registration.
  2. Under the DHHS and housed within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Office of Laboratory Welfare (OLAW) ensure compliance with the federal Public Health Service (PHS) policy on animal care. The OLAW issues the institution its PHS assurance number, which is required to receive federal research funds. OLAW has the authority to inspect the Institution, but does not have a set schedule for doing so. An annual report is submitted by WFU to the OLAW in order to retain its assurance.  The assurance itself receives continuing review by OLAW every five years.
  3. The animal program is accredited by AAALAC. While accreditation by AAALAC is voluntary, accreditation is strongly recommended by the DHHS for continued receipt of federal funds for research. Wake Forest University is inspected every three years by AAALAC, and has remained fully accredited by AAALAC since April 8, 1966.  An annual report on the WFU animal program must be provided to AAALAC to maintain its accreditation.