Animal Ethics Committees
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 requires that persons conducting research using animals comply with the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes 8th edition 2013 (the Code). Licence holders must nominate an Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) to oversee the conduct of the institution's care and use of animals for scientific purposes.
Section 2 of the Code details the responsibilities of institutions and their AECs. It is important that prospective and existing AEC members are familiar with Section 2 of the Code; specifically, the terms of reference, operating procedures, membership for AECs, assessment of proposals, and monitoring and reporting requirements.
The Role of an AEC
The primary responsibility of AECs is to ensure that all care and use of animals is conducted in compliance with the Code. AECs apply a set of principles that govern the ethical conduct of people whose work involves the use of animals for scientific purposes. The role of the AEC is to ensure that the use of animals is justified, provides for the welfare of those animals and incorporates the principles of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement (the 3Rs).
The 3Rs are defined in the Code as:
- Replacement - techniques that replace the use of animals must be sought and used where possible
- Reduction - each project must use no more than the minimum number of animals necessary and
- Refinement - projects should be designed to avoid pain and distress in animals.
Further details on the 3Rs may be found in the Code and on the 3Rs implementation strategies and techniques page of this site.
This publication may be of assistance to you but the State of Victoria and its employees do not guarantee that the publication is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all liability for any error, loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information in this publication. While every effort has been made to ensure the currency, accuracy or completeness of the content we endeavour to keep the content relevant and up to date and reserve the right to make changes as require. The Victorian Government, authors and presenters do not accept any liability to any person for the information (or the use of the information) which is provided or referred to in the report.