Care and Use of Animals for Teaching and Research Purposes

POLICY NO: RES-3.3

DATE OF APPROVAL: 19/2/93 (AB1/93-6) 

AMENDMENTS: Academic Board (AB5/97-87) 6 June 1997; Academic Board (AB2008/2/28) 28 March 2008; Academic Board (AB2/2014).

REFERENCE AUTHORITY: Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President (Research & Innovation)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
Responsible Practice in Research (RES 1.1)
Animal Welfare Act 1985
Animal Welfare Regulations 2012
Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th edition (2013)
Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research
Guidelines to promote the wellbeing of animals used for scientific purposes
Animal Research Ethics and Compliance


Preamble

The University of South Australia promotes and upholds best practice in animal welfare and in the conduct of animal-based research and teaching activities. The use of animals for teaching and research is regulated by the South Australian Animal Welfare Act 1985. The University of South Australia is licensed under the Act to acquire and use animals for teaching and research purposes. Under the terms of this licence the acquisition and use of animals must not commence before approval has been granted by an appropriate Animal Ethics Committee.

Policy

1. The University of South Australia complies with the South Australian Animal Welfare Act 1985 and Animal Welfare Regulations and with the Australian Code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes (the Code). As such, the University supports the governing principles of animal use as defined by the Code1:

1.1 Respect for animals must underpin all decisions and actions involving the care and use of animals for teaching and research purposes. This respect is demonstrated by:

  1. using animals only when it is justified
  2. supporting the wellbeing of the animals involved
  3. avoiding or minimising harm, including pain and distress, to those animals
  4. applying high standards of academic and research integrity
  5. applying Replacement, Reduction and Refinement (the 3Rs) at all stages of animal care and use:
    1. the Replacement of animals with other methods
    2. the Reduction in the number of animals used
    3. the Refinement of techniques used to minimise the adverse impact on animals
  6. knowing and accepting one’s responsibilities.

1.2 The care and use of animals for teaching and research purposes must be subject to ethical review.

1.3 A judgement as to whether a proposed use of animals is ethically acceptable must be based on information that demonstrates the principles in Clause 1.1, and must balance whether the potential effects on the wellbeing of the animals involved is justified by the potential benefits.

1.4 The obligation to respect animals, and the responsibilities associated with this obligation, apply throughout the animal’s lifetime, including acquisition, transport, breeding, housing, husbandry, use of the animal in a project, and provisions for the animal at the conclusion of their use.

2. Any member (staff, student or volunteer) of the University who wishes to undertake research or teaching involving animal use or observation is required to obtain ethical approval from an appropriate Animal Ethics Committee:

  • Animal Ethics Committee approval must be obtained before any vertebrate or higher-order invertebrate animal is acquired or used for teaching and research purposes by any member (staff, student or volunteer) of the University of South Australia
    • Where animals to be used for teaching and research purposes will be held captive, approval must be obtained from the Animal Ethics Committee established by the Institution that is responsible for the premises in which the animal is held
    • Where animals to be used for teaching and research purposes will not be held captive (e.g. field studies, wildlife observation studies), approval must be obtained from the Animal Ethics Committee established by the Institution which employs or engages the principal applicant on the Animal Ethics Committee approval application
    • Where animals to be used for teaching and research purposes are not located within South Australia, approval must be obtained from the Animal Ethics Committee established by the Institution which employs or engages the principal applicant on the Animal Ethics Committee approval application as well as any Animal Ethics Committee (or equivalent) established by the Institution that is responsible for the animals in that location, should such an Institution or Committee be in place

3. Any conditions of approval imposed by the relevant Animal Ethics Committee must be adhered to.

4. All activities involving the use of animals for teaching and research purposes must be carried out in compliance with the current edition of the Australian Code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes (NHMRC), Animal Welfare Act 1985 and Animal Welfare Regulations 2012.

5. Wherever animals are used for teaching purposes, the teaching programme must include a component that promotes ethical use of animals. Students must be given the opportunity to discuss the ethical, social, scientific and cultural issues that may arise from the use of animals for teaching and research purposes.

6. Where students have a conscientious objection to the use of animals for teaching, reasonable effort must be made to offer students alternative methods of learning and/or assessment. Conscientious objection may be on the grounds of:

  • Religious or cultural belief and practise
  • Strong conviction based on personal understanding of right and wrong

Conscientious objection must be based on an intrinsic conviction about what is ethically correct after careful consideration of the issue and must not be influenced by possible advantage either to the individual concerned or to others. Genuine conscientious objection must include a willingness to accept personal disadvantage or material or personal loss as a result of that objection.

Subject to the above, genuine conscientious objection must be accepted by subject co-ordinators and other staff members even if they do not agree with the underlying rationale for that belief or conviction.


1
Australian Code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th Edition (2013), Section 1