Information Center Devoted
to Animal Welfare
Where can one go to
find the latest news online about such topical issues as avian influenza,
bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or chronic wasting disease, from sources
ranging from scientific journals to popular media publications? A good place to
start is the National Agricultural
Library's (NAL) Animal
Welfare Information Center (AWIC).
AWIC was created
in 1986 as a result of Congressional amendments to the 1985 Animal Welfare Act.
The website contains links to the latest government publications concerning not
only lab animals, but farm animals and zoo and circus
AWIC is physically located in Beltsville,
Md., and is part of the Agricultural
Research Service. It is staffed by eight people, most of whom have
backgrounds involving animal research or degrees in animal science. Their
website contains hundreds of useful links concerning a wide range of issues.
The websites chosen as sources for information are carefully screened first,
and only the most informative are included on AWIC.
Due to the number of queries the AWIC
staff received from the public, they developed a section on their site about
animals, or pets. For example, many members of the public have asked for
the guidelines required to take
abroad, so these regulations can be now found there. This section also
contains many other helpful resources. One Web page provides links to
information about organizations that rescue potbellied pigs, rabbits and other
animals. Another page includes a section with links to publications concerning
guard dogs. There's also a page with information on "service
animals" such as seeing-eye, seizure and hearing dogs.
The concept of finding
to traditional scientific research techniques is explored on the website as
well. This section contains resources that examine some of the different
methods that can be used to limit pain and suffering in animals used for
AWIC periodically hosts one-and-a-half-day
for individuals who are responsible for providing information to meet the
requirements of the Animal Welfare Act. AWIC has trained thousands of people in
Beltsville and at other locations by taking the workshop on the road several
times a year.
The center periodically produces a
newsletter, Animal Welfare Information Center
with topics ranging from how police officers should respond to emergencies
involving animals, to the subject of tail docking in dairy cattle, a practice
used to prevent dirty tails from contaminating udders.
Anyone interested in animal health and
well-being would find the site informative and might be surprised by what they
find tucked away on its virtual shelves.
Jean Larson, AWIC Coordinator,
An ARS researcher and her colleagues developed
a test to detect
brucellosis-causing bacteria in goat milk.
An ARS researcher evaluating
containing a temperature sensor and transmitter for cows reports that the
system could be more effective than the current methods of measuring the
animal's body temperature.
Tami M. Brown-Brandl
ARS and collaborating scientists created new
viruses using a technique known as reverse genetics so they can study the
viruses' components and develop new vaccines.
A device called the
developed by ARS scientists to control ticks plaguing white-tailed deer and is
now available commercially.
Although cattle and horses don't like it, some
sheep will eat
leafy spurge, an invasive weed infesting U.S. rangelands. ARS scientists want
to know why.
Brent W. Woodward
Supplementing turkeys' diets with
stimulates their immune responses and helps control Listeria
monocytogenes, ARS scientists and university scientists have found.
ARS scientists have patented selection
techniques to find "good" bacteria that
help protect live chickens from becoming ill and causing foodborne illness in
Scientists who developed a diagnostic test for
avian influenza and a faster-growing catfish topped the list of
winners of 2003 ARS
technology transfer awards.
Nelson Cox, an ARS microbiologist who developed
technology to reduce foodborne pathogens in broiler chickens was named the
Senior Research Scientist of the Year for 2003.