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Animal Welfare

AWA Licensing and Registration



Under the Animal Welfare Act, many businesses that buy or sell warm-blooded animals, exhibit them to the public, transport them commercially or use them in research experiments must be licensed or registered by the USDA though APHIS’ Animal Care program . Licensees and registrants undergo routine inspections.  Annual license fees are required and are calculated based on business income or number of animals held. Registration is free.

Businesses and activities subject to AWA requirements include:

  • Selling to pet stores Sellers of exotic or wild animals
  • Providing animals to research laboratories
  • Auction operators Specimen or dead animal sales
  • Common commercial carriers e.g. airlines, railroads, shipping lines
  • Intermediate Handlers Zoos-zoological parks, roadside zoos, and petting zoos
  • Marine mammal shows
  • Animal-Fighting ventures
  • The use of animals in promotions
  • Animal performances to include circuses, carnivals, and use in film
  • Research facilities- whether owned and operated privately by a University or College, or by a State or local government, drug firms, teaching institutions, and diagnostic facilities that perform research using animals





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Last Modified: November 10, 2009


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