The Animal Welfare Information Center
Kevin P. Engler and Jean A. Larson
ANIMAL WELFARE INFORMATION CENTER ESTABLISHED
In 1985, Congress amended the Animal Welfare Act (PL 99–198). This amendment authorized the establishment of an information service at the National Agricultural Library (NAL) that would,''… in cooperation with the National Library of Medicine, provide information (1) pertinent to employee training; (2) which could prevent unintended duplication of animal experimentation as determined by the needs of the research facility; and (3) on improved methods of animal experimentation, including methods which could reduce or replace animal use and minimize pain and distress to animals, such as anesthetic and analgesic procedures." The information service, established at NAL in 1986, was designated the Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC). NAL houses 13 such information centers covering a variety of important agricultural topics.
Appropriations of $750,000 per year for fiscal years (FY) 1987 and 1988 to fund the new information center were directed to the library through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Funding for FY 1989 was added to NAL's base budget. The funding has been used to provide services to patrons, develop information products, purchase reference materials, and hire staff. Presently, the staff includes a coordinator and three technical information specialists.
SERVICES AND INFORMATION RESOURCES AVAILABLE THROUGH AWIC
NAL currently houses over 2 million volumes, including books, journals, newsletters, proceedings, reports, microforms, slides, videorecordings, films, and computer software. It
also coordinates a national information delivery network of state land-grant universities and USDA field libraries. The substantial resources of the NAL enable the AWIC staff to supply information on a broad array of subjects. Materials commonly accessed for AWIC's clientele cover important technical, ethical, political, and legal issues related to the welfare of animals. The publication Animal Welfare Information Center Scope Notes for Indexers outlines the animals and subject areas considered to be within the scope of the AWIC collection. Subjects that are indexed for use by AWIC include alternatives to the use of animals in research, testing, and education; euthanasia; analgesia; anesthesia; training and education of technicians and investigators; transportation and acquisition of animals; species husbandry; animal behavior; environmental factors affecting animals; laboratory animal management; institutional animal care and use committees; regulations and legislation concerning the humane treatment of animals; and philosophies of animal welfare or animal rights.
As directed by Congress, the AWIC staff emphasizes the acquisition of new materials related to the welfare of laboratory animals. Literature dealing with the welfare of farm animals and wild animals, however, represents a significant portion of the present NAL collection. Literature that involves the use of research animals as experimental units but does not address the welfare of the animals is generally not indexed. This type of information is collected by the National Library of Medicine. Also, because the Primate Information Center, University of Washington, has an extensive collection of primate-related materials, literature involving the use of laboratory primates is generally not indexed by NAL.
To access its extensive information resources, the NAL provides computerized bibliographic retrieval services through its in-house database Agricultural On-Line Access (AGRICOLA). This and other databases enable the staff to develop customized bibliographies tailored to the specific information needs of the patron. Established in 1970, AGRICOLA contains nearly 2.5 million citations covering aspects of agriculture and related subjects such as plant and animal production, food and nutrition, forestry, entomology, biotechnology, and rural development. While there is currently no database specifically for animal welfare, approximately one-fifth of the AGRICOLA database is devoted to citations on animal production, laboratory animal science, veterinary medicine, and animal welfare. AGRICOLA is currently available through the database vendors DIALOG Information Retrieval Service (in files 10 and 110) and the Bibliographic Retrieval Service (BRS)(in file CAIN), or commercially on compact disc. AGRICOLA/CAIN can be accessed from these vendors using standard dial-up computer terminals. The publication Searching AGRICOLA for …Animal Welfare details strategies and techniques for efficiently searching the database for animal welfare topics on both DIALOG and BRS. Other databases commonly utilized by the AWIC staff include the DIALOG files CRIS (60), MEDLINE (154,155), EMBASE (72, 172, 173), BIOSIS PREVIEWS (5, 55), and CAB ABSTRACTS (50, 53).
The staff also maintains vertical files of subjects and organizations related to animal care and use. These provide an excellent source of contact people and information about related organizations, as well as quick reference to current events and popular animal-related topics. The files contain records of acquisitions and clippings from current newspapers and magazines. They also include information about the history of animal welfare, legislation and guidelines pertaining to animal care and use, and organizations involved in
animal welfare or animal research. Other files are devoted to specific subject-related topics such as laboratory ferrets, computer simulations, guidelines for animal care in the United Kingdom, the Draize test, laboratory animal identification, and technician training.
The staff has developed an extensive network of subject experts and organizations active in the area of animal care and use. Referrals to individuals and groups may be provided on request.
A table-top exhibit describing the purpose and functions of AWIC is available for loan to interested groups. The display is sent by overnight mail, and copies of AWIC publications can be included. Return shipment must be arranged and paid for by the requestor.
AWIC services are available to USDA employees; federal, state or local government staff; academic and private institution staff; industry staff; students; and the general public. Under some circumstances, non-USDA personnel may be billed for services. Materials held in the collection can be obtained on interlibrary loan through institutional, business, academic, or public libraries. The information sheet Document Delivery Services to Individuals details the photoduplication and loan services to patrons for requested information. Information can be obtained by phone or mail request or by visiting AWIC in person.
AWIC REFERENCE PUBLICATIONS
To fill patron requests as quickly and thoroughly as possible, a number of bibliographic reference publications have been developed on specific topics in the area of animal welfare. These bibliographies address subjects that have been identified as critical animal welfare issues. For example, bibliographies are available on the Draize and LD50 tests, alternatives to the use of live animals for research and education, euthanasia, legislation, training materials for technicians and investigators, ethical and moral issues, transgenic animals, reference materials for members of institutional animal care and use committees, toxoplasmosis in laboratory animals, sources of simulation software, and laboratory animal housing and management. All AWIC bibliographies are distributed without charge. Many of these bibliographies are routinely updated to reflect new developments in each area, and efforts will continue to be directed toward developing new reference publications.
PROJECTS SUPPORTED BY AWIC
Since 1987, AWIC has supported a number of projects, either financially or through active participation, that promote the mandates of the Animal Welfare Act. The following projects were funded with grant monies provided by AWIC:
An annotated bibliography of important literature relating to animal welfare entitled Laboratory Animal Welfare Bibliography, compiled by the Scientists Center for Animal Welfare (SCAW). (Available from SCAW and AWIC). An updated bibliography, also supported by AWIC, is in preparation.
A handbook, partially funded by AWIC, produced by the National Research Council, Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources, entitled Recognition and Alleviation of Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals.
An educational videotape program, Alternatives in Animal Research, produced by Texas University Health Sciences Center, which will survey past and present ethical issues relating to animal research and discuss the concepts of reduction, refinement, and replacement in the context of experimental design and planning.
Proceedings of a conference held June 22–25, 1988, by the Scientists Center for Animal Welfare (SCAW) entitled Science and Animals: Addressing Contemporary Issues, covering various aspects of animal experimentation. (Available for purchase from SCAW at $25.00 per copy.)
Two updated guidelines documents, Laboratory Animal Management: Rodents and Laboratory Animal Management: Dogs, to be produced by the National Research Council, Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources.
Two publications on alternative animal toxicology testing methods entitled Benchmarks: Alternative Methods in Toxicology and A Predictive Model for Estimating Rat Oral LD50 Values, which were produced by the Princeton Scientific Publishing Company (Available for purchase from Princeton Scientific.)
Twenty slide programs on care of animals to be produced by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine.
Intelligence query assistance software in animal welfare produced by TOME Associates. (Available from AWIC.)
AWIC has also participated in formal cooperative agreements with several groups. The following joint projects have been implemented:
An animal care training manual for principal investigators produced in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Two reference volumes produced with the Agricultural Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign entitled Laboratory Animal Welfare Training Resource Directory and Laboratory Animal Welfare Research Guide.
An expert software system for anesthesia and analgesia in laboratory animals to be developed in association with the Central Animal Resource Facility of the University of Maryland.
A videotape documenting normal and abnormal behavior of farm animals to be developed in association with Jack Albright, Purdue University.
A Spanish language training videotape entitled The Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals to be produced in association with the Laboratory Animal Training Association.
Publication of the proceedings of the SCAW-sponsored conference entitled Agricultural Animals in Research, which was held in September 1990.
Additional activities recently undertaken by AWIC, in cooperation with other groups, include:
Distribution of Chick Embryo Biology Information System (CEBIS), a bibliography prepared by John Bowen, University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine.
Establishment of guidelines with the National Library of Medicine for the cooperative acquisition of materials relating to animal welfare.
Assumption of printing costs and distribution of the publication Animal Care and Use in Behavioral Research: Regulations, Issues and Applications. These proceedings of the invited papers session of the 1988 Animal Behavior Society meeting were prepared by the University of Colorado at Denver.
UPDATES REGARDING AWIC AND NAL
Patrons are welcome to visit AWIC and other NAL offices on weekdays from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. A tour of the NAL facilities is available by appointment. For current updates regarding AWIC and NAL, the monthly newsletter Agricultural Libraries Information Notes is available free-of-charge. The Agricultural Library Forum (ALF), an electronic bulletin board system, also provides current information about new and existing products and services of AWIC and NAL and serves as a forum for the exchange of agricultural information between libraries, information centers, and other users. A "Brief Guide" to ALF has been prepared to introduce the major features of the system and to help callers get started.
For additional information please contact Animal Welfare Information Center, Room 205, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705 (301-344-3212).
PUBLICATIONS AVAILABLE THROUGH AWIC
Animal Models of Disease (QB 89-07)
Animal Welfare Legislation and Regulation (QB 89-23)
Ethical and Moral Issues Relating to Animals (QB 89-03)
Stress in Swine (QB 89-09)
Welfare of Experimental Animals (QB 89-18)
An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Materials Concerning the Philosophy of Animal Rights
Laboratory Animal Welfare Bibliography (Scientist Center for Animal Welfare/National Agricultural Library)
Search Tip Series
Searching AGRICOLA for … Animal Welfare (STS 88-01)
Special Reference Briefs
Alternatives to the Use of Animals in Research and Education (SRB 88-11)
Animal Care and Use Committees (SRB 89-06)
Animal Euthanasia (SRB 88-12)
Biotechnology: Methodologies Involved in the Production of Transgenic Animals (SRB 88-10)
The Draize Eye-Irritancy Test 1979–1988 (SRB 89-02)
The LD50 (Median Lethal Dose) Toxicity Test 1980–1988 (SRB 89-04)
Salmonella in Laboratory Animals (SRB 89-01)
ALF (Agricultural Library Forum): The National Agricultural Library's Electronic Bulletin Board System: A Brief Guide
The Animal Welfare Information Center Brochure
Animal Welfare Information Center Scope Notes for Indexers
Animal Welfare Information Center: Serials List
Animal Welfare Legislation: Bills and Public Laws 1980–October 1988
Animal Welfare Legislation: Bills and Public Laws November 1988–January 1989. Bills Submitted to the 101st Congress
Animal Welfare Legislation: February 1989–April 1989. Bills Submitted to the 101st Congress
Audio-Visuals in the Collections of the National Agricultural Library Relating to Animal Welfare
Reference Materials for Non-Affiliated Members of Animal Care and Use Committees
Training Materials in the Collections of the National Agricultural Library Relating to Animal Welfare