Animal ethics

Deakin is committed to helping its researchers comply with state and nationally-enforced requirements regarding the ethical use of animals in scientific research or teaching.

What is animal ethics?

Animal ethics at Deakin covers the care and use of animals for research or teaching purposes. In Victoria, the use of animals for scientific procedures is permitted and regulated under Part 3 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and Part 4 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2008

It is the legal responsibility of institutions that conduct research involving animals to comply with the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (the Code). 

Institutions must also establish an Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) to oversee the conduct of the institution's research activities. Staff or students at Deakin who intend to use animals for research or teaching must obtain approval from the AEC prior to commencing any work.

Deakin Animal Ethics Committee

Deakin has two Animal Ethics Committees. On behalf of the university, they are responsible for ensuring all activities relating to the care and use of animals is conducted in compliance with the Code.

The two Animal Ethics Committees are:

  • Animal Ethics Committee Laboratory - Geelong (AECL-G) 
  • Animal Ethics Committee Wildlife - Burwood (AECW-B)

The primary role of the AECs is to:

  • review applications to ensure the use of animals is justified 
  • ensure the welfare of animals is provided for 
  • ensure the principles of replacement, reduction and refinement (the 3R’s) have been incorporated. 

Restricted information for committee members.

Animal Ethics Committee Laboratory – Geelong
Animal Ethics Committee Wildlife – Burwood

Deakin AEC terms of reference 

Each Deakin AEC functions independently, conducting business separately and in accordance with its responsibilities under Section 2.3 of the Code.

In accordance with the Code, an AEC must comprise at least four persons, including one from each of the following categories: 

  • Category A 
    Veterinary surgeon with experience relevant to the activities of the institution.
  • Category B 
    Scientist or teacher with substantial recent experience in animal-based research or teaching.
  • Category C 
    A person with demonstrable commitment to, and established experience in, furthering the welfare of animals, who is not employed by or otherwise associated with the institution, and who is not involved in the care and use of animals for scientific purposes. 
  • Category D 
    Layperson who has never engaged in the use of animals for scientific purposes beyond their undergraduate education and who is independent of the institution.

AEC training courses

Researchers who plan to use animals for scientific purposes must be aware of and accept their responsibilities in accordance with the Code, and be competent in performing procedures prior to AEC approval. 

Deakin offers the following training for those using animals in research and teaching:

Regulatory issues in the care and use of animals for research and teaching 

Animal use in research and teaching is governed by Victorian legislation. This session introduces staff and students to their responsibilities under the legislation. 

This part of the AEC training course is compulsory for all staff and students who are listed on an animal ethics application and who intend to use live animals in their research or teaching at Deakin.

The care and use of laboratory rodents in research and teaching 

Knowledge of animal husbandry and the acquisition of practical skills are essential for good animal welfare. 

This session aims to introduce staff and students to the principles of laboratory rodent care and use. It is compulsory for researchers undertaking research involving rodents.

Specific training to be provided by the Principal Investigator or delegate 

Training in specific procedures provided by the Principal Investigator or delegate. 

This training must be completed by investigators who indicate in the AEC application that they require specific training for scientific procedures using animals.

Aseptic surgery training 

Training is compulsory for all staff and students listed on an animal ethics application who plan to perform recovery surgery on animals.

Contact us

Animal Ethics Office
+61 3 5227 2330
Email the Animal Ethics Office
Send an online enquiry

Animal Ethics Office
Deakin University 
75 Pigdons Road 
Geelong VIC 3216

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