The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations (also known as "AWAR" or "AWA/AWR") are a set of standards for the humane care and treatment of mammals (except laboratory-bred rats and mice) involved in activities at government-registered research institutions.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is the agency within the USDA responsible for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act. The USDA receives its authority through federal law (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 7 and 9). Veterinary Medical Officers enforcing the 7 and 9 CFRs inspect research organizations at least annually.
APHIS has published the Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations, known as the “Blue Book,” as a tool to "improve compliance among our licensees and registrants and to enhance the consistency of inspections by our field inspectors. The Blue Book consolidates into one source the AWA and the applicable regulations and standards."