Animal ethics

Introduction:

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') requires that institutions conducting research involving animals comply with the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes 2013 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Code') and establish an Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) to oversee the conduct of the institution's experimentation activities. Teaching and Research Projects at Federation University Australia involving animals must not commence without prior written approval from the FedUni AEC.

Ethics clearance is required if the proposed research involves any

  • Live non-human vertebrate including fish, amphibians,reptiles birds and mammals, encompassing domestic animals, purpose-bred animals, livestock and wildlife
  • Live pre-natel or pre-hatched creatures in the last half of gestation, for example a mammalian or reptilian foetus, pre-hatched avian, mammalian or reptilian young and live marsupial young
  • Cephalopod invertebrates such as octopus, squid, cuttlefish and nautilus

Each person involved in the care and use of animals for scientific purposes must consider the governing principles of the code to their specific circumstance:

  • Use animals only when justified
  • Support the well-being of animals
  • Avoid or minimise harm, including pain and distress, to animals
  • Apply high standards of scientific integrity
  • Apply Replacement, Reduction and Refinement (the 3R's) at all stages
  • Accept responsibilities

Animal ethics applications must be signed by all researchers, then reviewed by either the relevant Head of School, Deputy Head of School or Associate Dean Research (ADR), who deem the project is of merit to be assessed by the AEC; appropriate facilities are available (if applicable); the project will be supported by the relevant faculty.

The authorised original hard copy and an electronic version of the application are to be received by the Ethics Office to complete the application process.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Should your proposed Animal Ethics project include any GMO product, refer to the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) website for further information.

In Australia, all dealings with live and viable genetically modified organisms (GMOs), including import, are illegal unless authorised under the Gene Technology Act.

Every dealing with a GMO will need to be licensed by the Regulator (Office of Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR)) unless the dealing is an exempt dealing, a notifiable low risk dealings (NLRD) or on the Register of GMOs.

Both IBC and AEC approval will be required prior to commencement of any Animal Ethics project using GMO product.