AWA Inspection and Annual Reports

Last Modified: February 17, 2024

USDA Animal Care inspectors conduct routine, unannounced inspections of all entities licensed or registered under the Animal Welfare Act. 

Inspectors conduct three types of inspections: 

  • Pre-licensing inspections, to make sure the applicant can meet the federal standards prior to being licensed/registered; 
  • Routine, unannounced compliance inspections of all entities to make sure they are adhering to the federal standards and regulations; and 
  • Focused inspections based upon public complaints or allegations of unlicensed activities. 

During routine inspections, USDA reviews the premises, records, husbandry practices, program of veterinary care and animal handling procedures to ensure the animals are receiving humane care. The frequency of inspections is based on several factors, including an entity’s compliance history. USDA inspects research facilities that use regulated animals at least once a year.

Inspection Reports

APHIS is committed to ensuring the welfare of regulated animals and continues to carry out the critical day-to-day work of ensuring the humane treatment of vulnerable animals through unannounced inspections, compliance visits, horse protection inspections, and other activities.

The USDA Animal Care Public Search Tool allows you to search for:

  • A list of persons licensed or registered under the Animal Welfare Act
  • Inspection reports
  • Animal welfare enforcement actions
  • Teachable moments
  • Research facility animal use annual reports

More detail on each of these search options can be found within the USDA Animal Care Public Search Tool

Those seeking information from APHIS regarding inspection reports not currently posted to the website, regulatory correspondence, and enforcement related matters may submit Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for that information. FOIA requests can be submitted online through the USDA Freedom of Information Act Public Access Portal. Records will be released when authorized and in a manner consistent with the FOIA and Privacy Act. Also, consistent with recent amendments to the FOIA, if the same records are frequently requested records under the FOIA, and are subject to release under the FOIA and Privacy Act, APHIS will post the appropriately redacted versions to its website. 

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