July 15, 2004
Where can one go to find the latest online news about topical issues such as avian influenza, bovine spongiform encephalopathy or chronic wasting disease, from sources ranging from scientific journals to popular media publications? The National Agricultural Library's (NAL) Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC), located at http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/index.html
on the World Wide Web, is a good place to start. Physically located in Beltsville, Md., the AWIC is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. It is staffed by eight people, most of whom have backgrounds involving animal research or animal science. Also included on the site is an extensive section regarding "companion animals" -- or pets. Here you will find tips on many topics, from what is involved in taking animals abroad to organizations that rescue rabbits and potbellied pigs. Another page features a section with links to publications concerning livestock guard dogs. There's also a page with information on "service animals" such as seeing-eye, seizure and hearing dogs.