Press Release

April 20, 2023
PRIM&R Comments on USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Proposed Rule


April 20, 2023


BOSTON—PRIM&R submitted formal comments to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service at the USDA for all animals regulated under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which includes certain species involved in biomedical and behavioral research.

The rule under consideration covers different entities—licensees, such as exhibitors and registrants (research facilities)—and proposes standards for handling and training of handlers of exotic animals, as well as environmental enrichment for all regulated species.

Given PRIM&R’s mission to advance the highest ethical standards in the conduct of research with humans and other animals, PRIM&R’s official comments focused exclusively on environmental enrichment which impacts researchers and research facilities.

PRIM&R Executive Director Elisa A. Hurley, PhD, wrote: “PRIM&R recommends that, before establishing environmental enrichment standards for all other AWA covered species, USDA support research in areas such as animal behavior, comparative psychology, and ethology to better elucidate environmental needs that sustain the wellbeing of different species.”

Dr. Hurley’s letter also noted, “any requirements that are promulgated will necessarily have to be revised as our understanding of different species evolves over time.”

PRIM&R’s comments emphasized that often researchers, rather than the attending veterinarian, are most familiar with the specific species, and recommended language supporting shared responsibility for determining environmental enrichment measures.

Through educational programming, professional development opportunities, and public policy initiatives, including offering official comments on pending policies, PRIM&R seeks to ensure that all stakeholders in the research enterprise appreciate the central importance of evidenced-based regulations and policies to the advancement of science.

To read PRIM&R’s official comments, click here


About PRIM&R  

Since 1974, PRIM&R has advanced the highest ethical standards in the conduct of research. We accomplish this mission through education, membership services, professional certification, public policy initiatives, and community building. PRIM&R is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Find out more at  

Media Contact:  

Daniel McLean
Public Engagement Manager
Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R)
Direct: 617-303-1877