Throughout the duration of any study involving animals, there are several groups outside of UTMB that monitor all research activities to ensure that the animals are treated as humanely as possible. Some of these oversight groups include: U.S. Department of Agriculture: The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service conducts unannounced compliance inspections of all animal facilities, husbandry practices, veterinary care programs, records and animal handling procedures at least once a year to ensure compliance with the standards and regulations of the Animal Welfare Act in studies involving animal species under the purview of the USDA.AAALAC International: In order to receive initial accreditation, institutions are evaluated by at least two AAALAC site visitors and are revisited at three-year intervals. Site visitors must be permitted to enter any animal housing, laboratory and other animal use areas. When AAALAC identifies deficiencies, additional visits may be needed to confirm that the issues are resolved. Additional site visits can also be warranted if there are major changes in programs or facilities. U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Animal Care and Use Review Office: The USAMRMC and the Department of Defense animal use policy applies to any live vertebrate animal that is being used for research supported by a USAMRMC grant or contract. ACURO must review the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee protocols and undergo a site visit by an ACURO laboratory animal veterinarian before any studies using DoD funds can begin. ACURO may also conduct site visits whenever they deem appropriate.National Institutes of Health's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare: OLAW is charged with ensuring that animal research that is funded through any of the agencies contained within the U.S. Public Health Service complies with the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. OLAW expects research institutions to monitor their research activities and will conduct site visits when needed.