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Animal Use for Scientific Purposes Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) To outline how Macquarie University (the University)fulfils its responsibilities relating to the ethical and humane use of animals for scientific purposes. The implementation of this Policy and its related procedures and guidelines will facilitate compliance with relevant legislation, minimising risk to the University while promoting high quality research and teaching.


(2) The University is committed to remaining at the forefront of research and teaching within an ethical and accountable model of animal use.

(3) All research at the University is governed by the Macquarie University Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

(4) The use of animals for scientific purposes at the University is governed by the Animal Research Act 1985 and Animal Research Regulation 2010(NSW) incorporating the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes and informed by the International Guiding Principles for Biomedical Research Involving Animals 2012 and the NHMRC Guidelines to promote the wellbeing of animals used for scientific purposes.

(5) These documents detail the responsibilities of all animal research personnel, animal research institutions and animal ethics committees with respect to animal research and teaching.

(6) The University is committed to ensuring there is justification for animal use in research and teaching. It does this by promulgating the three general principles of research animal use - the 3Rs:

  1. Replacement – utilising techniques that replace the use of animals where possible;
  2. Reduction - using no more than the minimum number of animals necessary in each project; and
  3. Refinement – avoiding or minimising pain and distress, improving well-being.


(7) This Policy covers the breeding, holding and use of animals for the purpose of research or teaching, and applies to all staff, students, visiting academics, volunteers and other personnel involved in all aspects of animal research or teaching under the affiliation of, or in collaboration with, the University.

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Section 2 - Policy


(8) The University will:

  1. ensure it has current accreditation as an Animal Research Establishment in NSW, and other jurisdictions where appropriate; and
  2. only supply animals for research or teaching, either within the University or elsewhere, when it has a current NSW Animal Suppliers License and in accordance with the conditions of that licence.

Animal Ethics Committee

(9) The University will:

  1. maintain an Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) as required by legislation, with an agreed Terms of Reference and procedures;
  2. ensure, through the AEC, that all animal research and teaching at the University complies with the relevant legislation and national and international guidelines and codes;
  3. provide the AEC with resources and the authority to fulfil its terms of reference and operate as set out in the relevant legislation and national and international guidelines and codes;
  4. employ an Animal Welfare Officer to assist the AEC to monitor animal welfare and compliance with The Code; and
  5. Respond effectively to recommendations from the AEC to ensure that all animal research within the University remains in accordance with the relevant legislation and national and international guidelines and codes.

Training of Animal Research Personnel

(10) The University will:

  1. ensure that all personnel involved in the use or care of animals for research and teaching are appropriately trained and skilled; and
  2. ensure that training promotes an appreciation of the ethical issues associated with the use of animals for scientific purposes.

Review and Reporting

(11) The University will:

  1. require researchers to submit applications for research and teaching protocols, progress, final and other reports as required by The Code and applicable legislation, to the AEC;
  2. ensure the AEC reviews all new and ongoing activities, to determine whether the proposed or continued use of animals is justified by assessing the scientific / educational value of the project against the potential impacts on the welfare of the animals involved;
  3. ensure the AEC meets its responsibilities with respect to reporting as outlined in The Code and detailed by ARRP; and
  4. ensure that independent external review of its compliance with the Australian Code is carried out at least every four years.

Compliance and Breaches

(12) The University will maintain transparent procedures to manage and report any adverse events or complaints that may arise from the use of animals for scientific purposes, in accordance with the Macquarie University Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, the Animal Ethics Committee Terms of Reference and Operating Procedures, and relevant legislation.

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Section 3 - Procedures

(13) Nil.

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Section 4 - Guidelines

(14) Nil.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(15) The following definitions apply for the purpose of this Policy:

  1. Animal means as defined in The Code - “any live non-human vertebrate (that is, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals encompassing domestic animals, purpose-bred animals, livestock, wildlife) and cephalopods.” The University includes embryos and foetuses that have progressed beyond half the gestation or incubation period and larvae that are capable of independent feeding.
  2. Animal Ethics Committee means the Committee established, as required by the NSW Animal Research Act 1985, to advise the Vice-Chancellor on animal ethics. It reports through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and is constituted in accordance with the terms of reference and membership laid down in The Code.
  3. Animal Research Personnel means anyone involved in the care or use of animals that are used for scientific purposes, including during their acquisition, transport, breeding, housing and husbandry.
  4. Animal Research Review Panel (ARRP) means a statutory body created by the Animal Research Act 1985 to provide advice to the NSW minister on the use of animals in research and teaching.
  5. National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) means Australia's peak body for supporting health and medical research; for developing health advice for the Australian community, health professionals and governments; and for providing advice on ethical behaviour in health care and in the conduct of health and medical research.
  6. Scientific Purposes means as defined in The Code – “all activities conducted with the aim of acquiring, developing or demonstrating knowledge or techniques in all areas of science, including teaching, field trials, environmental studies, research (including the creation and breeding of a new animal line where the impact on animal wellbeing is unknown or uncertain), diagnosis, product testing and the production of biological products”.
  7. The Code means the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes.