Animal research ethics
Before commencing experiments, researchers (including undergraduate and postgraduate students) and teachers who wish to undertake work involving animals must obtain approval from the Animal Ethics Committee. No experimentation can take place without ethics clearance.
Animal ethics is the ethical use of animals for scientific purposes and teaching.
Under the Queensland Animal Care and Protection Act 2001, an animal is any live vertebrate including amphibians birds, fish, mammals and reptiles. Animals also include:
- live pre-natal or pre-hatched creatures in the last half of gestation, for example, a mammalian or reptilian foetus, pre-hatched avian, mammalian or reptilian young and live marsupial young
- cephalopod invertebrates such as octopus, squid, cuttlefish and nautilus.
However a human being or human foetus is not an animal, nor are the eggs, spat or spawn of fish.
USQ is committed to promoting ethical conduct of research and requires all staff and students to ensure:
- experiments involving animal subjects are worthwhile and likely to contribute to new knowledge
- experiments are conducted and supervised appropriately
- the rights of experimental subjects are protected.
Applications for animal ethics approval are processed through the Office of Research.
Animal Research Ethics Committee
The principle point of reference for the Animal Research Ethics Committee, when considering ethics relevant to all research involving animals, is the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes, 8th Edition, 2013, which is mandatory under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld).
The committee is responsible for reviewing research proposals involving animal experimentation, approving the use of live animals for teaching purposes and advising of any ethical considerations for these proposals. All proposed use of animals for scientific purposes and teaching at USQ must be assessed by the University’s Animal Research Ethics Committee before an ethical decision can be made on whether or not the use is justified and that the welfare of the animals has been considered.
For animal use to be justified, the committee must be convinced that benefits of the use outweigh the potential costs to the animal. The Animal Research Ethical Committee must also be assured that the 3Rs of animal use are complied with:
- replacement of animals with alternatives where possible
- reduction in the numbers of animals used
- refinement of techniques to reduce the impact on the animals.
Training on animal ethics regulations and an animal handling workshop is held each semester. Further details on these workshops can be obtained from the Ethics Committee Support Officer by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information about animal ethics, the process, clearance and Animal Research Ethics Committee, please email email@example.com or telephone +61 7 4631 2690.