Ratification Date: 01 Feb 2009
There must be appropriate legislation and enforcement in all states and territories to ensure that the welfare of animals used in research, field trials and teaching is adequately protected. The principles in the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (2013) as amended from time to time should form the basis of the regulatory control of animal experimentation.
The Australian Veterinary Association Ltd. (AVA) should be actively involved in the development and review of such regulatory and advisory frameworks.
AVA urges the application of uniform national standards for welfare during animal experimentation. Standards should be the responsibility of an appropriate government department with adequate resources and support, staffed by suitably trained and qualified personnel.
AVA is committed to the ‘three R’s’: to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals for the purposes of teaching and research.
The Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes stresses the responsibilities of individual investigators and teachers and of research institutions. Animal ethics committees (AECs) are an integral part of the implementation of the Code. AECs require the presence of a suitably experienced veterinarian who will bring expertise to the consideration of animal research, which is not deliverable by any other member of the committee. AVA endorses the requirement in the Code that each AEC includes a research scientist, veterinarian, representative of the animal welfare sector, and a lay person.
State governments have passed legislation that regulates the use of animals in research and underpins the Code, including the use of AECs. Animal welfare advisory committees (AWACs) or panels have been established at the state level to advise on and monitor the welfare of animals used in research and teaching. They include representation from research scientists, the community and animal welfare organisations.
An advisory council, similar to the peak councils of the state AWACs, is needed at the federal level, to ensure that high standards of animal care are maintained in animal experimentation in federal departments and instrumentalities.
Legislation must ensure that expert advice and care are provided in research facilities.
Procedures for reporting the number and types of animal experiments performed must be clearly stated. Expert veterinary advice must be available at all times.
Research and teaching institutions must recognise that appropriate financial resources are required to ensure adequate facilities and staff to maintain the highest standards of care of animals used in experimentation.
Education of both the experimenters and the community will be important in the implementation of relevant legislation. AVA would expect to participate in this process.
Other relevant policies and position statements
- Australian Government. NHMRC. (2013) Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes. 8th edn. https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/australian-code-care-and-use-animals-scientific-purposes
Date of ratification by AVA Board February 2009