Animal Welfare Information Center News Feed

The Animal Welfare Information Center News Feed pulls together news items related to animal health, behavior and welfare. It also provides information on new AWIC publications and changes to the AWIC Web site.

Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 07:39
USDA. APHIS. Animal Care.

USDA Animal Care has posted the previous six years’ worth of reports documenting animal usage at USDA-registered research facilities. These reports, organized by state and by pain category, show the number of animals used in research, testing, teaching and/or experimentation.

Here is the link to the reports on our website.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - 12:39
USDA. APHIS. Animal Care.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), is hosting a free webinar, “Openness and Transparency and Biomedical Research Oversight: What Your Institution Should Know,” on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, at 1 p.m. EST.

This presentation is part of a series of webinars held quarterly to help institutional animal care and use committees (IACUCs) and institutional officials explore their responsibilities in overseeing research funded by the U.S. Public Health Service.

On OLAW’s webinar page, found here, you can register to attend, view archived webinars and also see the full upcoming schedule of webinars.

Most webinars include a 20-minute presentation followed by 30 minutes for questions and answers. Participants can submit questions to OLAW ahead of time and can also submit suggestions for future webinars by emailing

Dr. Betty Goldentyer, USDA Animal Care, will be one of the speakers on the Dec. 4 webinar, along with: Dr. Axel Wolff, OLAW; Dr. Margaret Snyder, NIH; and Dr. B. Taylor Bennett, National Association for Biomedical Research.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - 12:10
Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM)

EPA FIFRA SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY PANEL TO DISCUSS PRIORITIZATION OF EDSP CHEMICALS The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel will meet on December 2–5 at the EPA Conference Center in Arlington, Virginia. The panel will consider and review scientific issues related to endocrine activity and exposure-based prioritization and screening. NICEATM scientists will present their work on assessing bioactivity of chemicals tested in the ToxCast high-throughput screening assays. A preliminary agenda and other materials for the meeting are posted at

NIEHS OFFERS GRANTS FOR ASSAY DEVELOPMENT The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is offering grants to support development of novel assays by U.S. small business concerns. The grants will support development of medium- to high-throughput assays to evaluate the effects of toxicants on pluripotent or induced pluripotent cells with respect to cell differentiation and the resulting differentiated cell populations. Assays will provide information on mechanisms of chemically induced biological activity, help to prioritize chemicals for more extensive toxicological evaluation, support more predictive models of in vivo biological response, and potentially inform on the role of genetic diversity in toxicological effects.
R41 grants (Phase 1) will award up to $225,000 for up to one year; R43/R44 grants (Phase 1, Phase 2, Fast-Track) will award up to $225,000 for up to one year for Phase 1 applications and $1,500,000 for up to two years for Phase 2 applications.
Letters of intent are due January 13, 2015; applications are due February 13, 2015.
Additional information is available at

At the recent annual meeting of the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology, Dr. Frank Gerberick of The Proctor & Gamble Company was presented with the William and Eleanor Cave Award in recognition of his contributions to alternative test method development, which include the development of the direct peptide reactivity assay (DPRA). The Cave Award is awarded by the Alternatives Research and Development Foundation to recognize achievements in reducing, refining, and replacing animals in testing. A news release with more information about the award is available at

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 13:05
Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM)

NIH SEEKS INFORMATION ON MAKING DATA USABLE The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and other NIH institutes have issued a Request for Information (RFI): Making Data Usable—A Framework for Community-Based Data and Metadata Standards Efforts for NIH-relevant Research.
The mission of the NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative is to enable biomedical scientists to capitalize more fully on the Big Data being generated by those research communities. BD2K aims to develop new approaches, standards, methods, tools, software, and competencies that will enhance the use of biomedical Big Data by supporting research, implementation, and training in data science and other relevant fields.
An important aspect of this process is to make biomedical research data and resources maximally shareable and reusable. For this reason, BD2K is formulating approaches to encourage development and facilitate the use of data-related (including metadata) standards more broadly across the biomedical research community and is, therefore, interested in the issues involved in developing community-based standards. This RFI solicits comments and ideas related to how community standards activities are initiated, developed, disseminated, and sustained, as well as any role that NIH might play in helping to catalyze such efforts.
The deadline for responses is December 5, 2014. Additional information and instructions for submitting comments are available at

The New England Anti-Vivsection Society (NEAVS) is accepting applications for its annual $40,000 postdoctoral fellowship grant. The fellowship will be awarded to a woman interested in and committed to developing, validating, or using non-animal alternatives in the investigation of women’s health or sex differences. Citizens or residents of any country may apply. Key criteria for the award will be the potential for the greatest future impact of the funded research as well as the candidate’s experience and commitment to alternatives to animal research. Applications are due by December 15. More information and application instructions are available at

TRAINING VIDEO ON BCOP EYE IRRITATION METHOD The European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA) has posted a training video on the bovine corneal opacity and permeability (BCOP) test method on its website. The BCOP is an in vitro method for identification of eye irritants. The video was produced by the Institute for In Vitro Sciences.
The video is available at

Friday, November 14, 2014 - 15:18
U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (FDA). Center for Veterinary Medicine.

This information has recently been updated and is now available.

ICCVAM Announcments
Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 13:45
Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM)

New OECD Test Guidelines; DB-ALM Update; REACH Webinars; ASCCT Abstract Deadline Oct. 10


In late September, the OECD Council adopted three new chemical test guidelines and updates and corrections to six existing test guidelines.

The new test guidelines are Test Guideline 238, “Sediment-free Myriophyllum spicatum Toxicity Test,” Test Guideline 239, “Water-sediment Myriophyllum spicatum Toxicity Test,” and Test Guideline 489, “In vivo Mammalian Alkaline Comet Assay.” A correction was issued to Test Guideline 310, “Ready Biodegradation – CO2 in Sealed Vessels (Headspace Test),” and updates were issued for test guidelines for in vitro skin corrosion methods and four genotoxicity tests.

The new and updated test guidelines are available on the OECD website at


The European Union Joint Research Centre (JRC) administers DB-ALM, a database of alternative methods for research and regulatory use. The JRC recently announced an update to DB-ALM offering a redesigned data retrieval approach with improved flexibility and support. New methods for identification of potential carcinogens, eye irritants, and skin sensitizers have also been added to the database.

DB-ALM is available at


The PETA International Science Consortium, Ltd., and Chemical Watch are presenting a webinar series focused on alternative methods and testing strategies that can be used to meet REACH requirements. Topics for the webinars will include in silico tools, skin and eye irritation and corrosion, skin sensitization, and acute toxicity. Information about the webinar series is available at

The first webinar on October 22 will discuss the OECD QSAR toolbox and read-across, and will be presented by Drs. Grace Patlewicz (DuPont) and Mark Cronin (Liverpool John Moores University). Register for the October 22 webinar at

The second webinar on skin irritation and corrosion will take place on November 11 and will be presented by Drs. Gertrude-Emilia Costin (Institute for In Vitro Sciences) and Costanza Rovida (REACH Mastery). Register for the November 11 webinar at

The abstract deadline for the third Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology (ASCCT) has been extended to October 10. The meeting will take place on November 12 at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and the theme of the meeting is “Where Chemistry and Biology Meet: AOPs as a Framework for Advancing Toxicology.” The concept of AOPs will be explored from three different perspectives, featuring talks by Robert Kavlock of EPA, Jennie Larkin and Ajay Pillai from NIH, and Mark Cronin from Liverpool John Moores University, as well as a panel/audience discussion. A few submitted abstracts will be selected for oral presentations. The afternoon will include presentations from the Japanese Society for Alternatives to Animal Experiments and the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing. A poster session, lunch, and a cocktail reception are included in the registration fee. Please visit for more information and a link to the registration page, or contact Erin Hill at

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - 07:38
USDA. APHIS. Animal Care.

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service sent this bulletin at 10/01/2014 07:02 AM EDT

Beginning Oct. 1, 2014, we at USDA Animal Care will realign our structure so we can more efficiently uphold and enforce the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act. We are consolidating our administrative support, enhancing our accountability, improving our processes, and modernizing our operations.

Over the years, we have grown as an organization, but we have not always adapted our organizational structure to tackle our new responsibilities or meet our stakeholders’ growing expectations of us. This functional realignment creates a modern, flexible organization that will enable us to more easily grow and adapt to future changes. Our realignment also supports recommendations made by USDA’s Office of Inspector General after it conducted four audits of our organization.

The new USDA Animal Care organizational structure is composed of four main business units: Field Operations; The Collaboratory; Resource Management; and Information Technology. You can view a diagram of the new structure and find additional information at

Some things will remain as they are now. For example, our realignment will not change how our inspectors conduct inspections of regulated facilities, and the process remains the same for concerned citizens who want to file an animal welfare complaint. Also, we encourage you to continue to communicate with the same USDA Animal Care employees as you have in the past.

If we plan to refine any procedures that might impact you, our stakeholders, we will communicate with you well in advance of any changes.

We hope that you will view our realignment as we do – as a way for us to increase our consistency and efficiency and thereby enhance our ability to protect the welfare of the animals regulated under the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act.

Chester Gipson

Deputy Administrator

AOP Workshop Abstract Deadline, PBPK Modeling Course, USDA Training on Alternatives, ASCCT Annual Meeting
Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 08:21
Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM)


Scientific poster abstracts for the upcoming workshop “Adverse Outcome Pathways: From Research to Regulation” are due by close of business on Friday, July 25. Posters should address how adverse outcome pathways may be developed or used (i) to predict toxic effects in humans or ecological systems or (ii) to improve regulatory assessment of chemical toxicity. Posters that address related issues or topics may be considered as space allows. Applications for travel support by students or postdoc presenters are also due July 25.

Submit poster abstracts and applications for travel support by email to Michael Paris ( The corresponding author will be notified of an abstract’s acceptance and provided with guidelines for poster presentation by August 4. Travel support awardees will be notified by August 5. Information on abstract submission, travel support competition, and links to registration are available at

The workshop will be held September 3-5 at the William H. Natcher Conference Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. It is open to the public free of charge with attendance limited only by the space available. The plenary sessions of the workshop will be webcast. Individuals who plan to attend in person or view the webcast should register by August 15.


The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences is offering a one-week course on the principles of physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling and the application of this technique in risk assessment, drug development, in vitro to in vivo extrapolation (IVIVE), and estimation of exposures from human biomonitoring data. The course features comprehensive lectures and extensive hands-on computer modeling practice. Students completing this course can earn up to 30 hours of American Board of Industrial Hygiene Certification Maintenance credit.

The course will be offered September 22-26 at the Hamner Institutes in Research Triangle Park, NC. More information and a link to registration are available at Registration closes September 12.


USDA’s Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC) holds free workshops at the National Agricultural Library to help researchers explore alternatives to procedures that may cause pain or distress to their animals. Training is targeted to principal investigators, IACUC members, administrators of animal use programs, veterinarians, librarians, and other information specialists. The workshops provide an overview of relevant topics and resources, instruction on the use of existing databases and websites, and hands-on practice conducting online database searches.

Registration is open for the next workshop, which takes place Nov. 12-14, 2014. Registration is available at; workshops are limited to 20 participants.

AWIC staff members are also available to also to provide training at your institution or conduct training via webinar. Please contact AWIC at 301-504-6212 or at for more information.


The theme of the third Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology is “Where Chemistry and Biology Meet: AOPs as a Framework for Advancing Toxicology.” Dr. Robert Kavlock, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Science and interim Science Advisor at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will deliver a plenary lecture on adverse outcome pathways. Other invited speakers will discuss computational toxicity tools based on AOPs for liver toxicity and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Big Data to Knowledge initiative.

The meeting will be held November 12th in the National Library of Medicine Lister Hill Auditorium on the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD. Registration is $75 and includes lunch and a reception. Abstracts for poster presentations should be submitted to ASCCT secretary Kristie Sullivan at by September 26; a small number of abstracts will be selected for oral presentations. More information is available at

Thursday, March 13, 2014 - 13:22
USDA. APHIS. Animal Care.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is continuing to move swiftly and consistently to take enforcement action in response to animal welfare violations. As part of its effort to make its actions transparent and accessible to the public, APHIS is highlighting enforcement actions taken in response to violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and Horse Protection Act (HPA).

Thursday, March 13, 2014 - 09:31
USDA. APHIS. Wildlife Services.

Taking on an adult grizzly bear or a pack of wolves is a lot to ask of a livestock protection dog, but it’s a task they willingly take to protect their herds from predation. For centuries, livestock protection dogs have helped ranchers protect livestock from coyotes, feral dogs, foxes, and mountain lions. Without them, thousands of sheep, lambs, and calves would be killed or injured each year.

Thursday, March 13, 2014 - 09:27
USDA. APHIS. Animal Care.

USDA Animal Care has revised its factsheet entitled Questions and Answers: Regulation of Dog/Cat Breeders and Dealers.

This factsheet provides information that we hope you find useful, including: 1) the types of dog/cat breeders and dealers regulated under the Animal Welfare Act; 2) the standards of care required by USDA; and 3) USDA’s role in the commercial transport of dogs/cats.