What is animal ethics?
Animal Ethics at Deakin University oversees the involvement of animals for research and teaching purposes. In Victoria, this is regulated under Part 3 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and Part 5 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2019.
It is the legal responsibility of an institution that all aspects of animal care and use for scientific purposes must comply with the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes (the Code).
An Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) must be established to provide ethical review and ensure, on behalf of the institution that all activities are conducted in compliance with the Code. Investigators must apply for and obtain written approval from a Deakin University AEC prior to commencing work involving animals.
Deakin University Animal Ethics Committees (AECs)
Deakin University has two institutional Animal Ethics Committees (AECs), authorised through legislation to review and approve Animal Ethics applications and oversee the involvement of animals for scientific purposes.
The two AECs are:
- Animal Ethics Committee Wildlife-Burwood (AECW-B).
- Animal Ethics Committee Laboratory-Geelong (AECL-G).
Key roles of the AECs include but are not limited to:
- Conduct ethical review of proposals involving animals for research and teaching purposes.
- Balance whether the potential effects on the wellbeing of the animals involved is justified by the potential benefits to humans, animals or the environment with scientific or educational merit.
- Support animal welfare and assess the application of the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement).
- Ensure and monitor that all activities relating to the care and use of animals conform to the requirements and are conducted in compliance with the Code.
Deakin University Animal Ethics Committees (AECs) Terms of Reference
Each Deakin University Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) functions independently, conducting business separately and in accordance with the Code.
The AECs must comprise of at least one person from each of the following categories:
- Category A – A veterinarian recognised for registration in Australia with experience relevant to the institution’s activities or the ability to acquire relevant knowledge.
- Category B – A researcher with substantial and recent experience in the use of animals for scientific purposes relevant to the institution and the business of the AEC.
- 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 – A person from the wider community not employed by or otherwise associated with the institution and who has never been involved in the use of animals in research or teaching activities, either in their employment or beyond their undergraduate education.
Deakin University Training
Investigators who plan to work with animals for research or teaching purposes must be aware of and accept their responsibilities in accordance with the Code, apply for Animal Ethics Committee approval and comply with institutional policy and procedure.
Training and competency assessment of investigators are important factors that contribute to high-quality animal care and use.
Deakin University offer the following training program.
Part 1 training – Animal Ethics and Welfare regulatory requirements
This online training in CloudDeakin is compulsory for every person listed as an investigator on a Deakin University Animal Ethics application.
It introduces the legal and regulatory framework that governs work involving animals at Deakin University by providing an overview of the ethical, humane and responsible care and use of animals for scientific purposes, governing principles to guide decisions and actions, responsibilities of investigators and explains why accepting and complying with the legislation, institutional policy and procedure and Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) requirements is important.
Part 2 training – Animal husbandry with Animal Services
This hands-on training, including competency assessment is compulsory for investigators listed on a Deakin University Animal Ethics application approved to work in a Deakin University animal facility.
Training in animal husbandry is provided by Animal Services staff over three separate occasions so that multiple opportunities to handle animals are provided until competency is reached (additional sessions may be required) and prior to learning about specific procedures. Individuals with prior experience must demonstrate competency and understanding of the Deakin University procedures on at least one occasion.
Part 3 training - Specific procedures with Principal Investigator or delegate
This hands-on training, including competency assessment is compulsory for investigators listed on a Deakin University Animal Ethics application approved to perform specific procedures.
Training is provided by a Principal Investigator or delegate competent in performing specific procedures where the investigator has not yet been deemed competent or requires refresher training.
Further Animal Ethics information and resources restricted for Deakin University staff and students.