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How is animal research regulated in Australia?

Article ID: 8
Last updated: 20 Nov, 2015
Revision: 4
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In Australia, all research and teaching that involves the use of live animals must be carried out in accordance with the Australian code of Practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes. Under the Code, which is enforced by State and Territory legislation, applications for research using animals must be assessed by an institutional Animal Ethics Committee (AEC). The AEC must include at least one animal welfare member and a lay member as well as a veterinarian and a scientist. The AEC decides whether or not an experiment can be conducted, and can place provisions on the numbers of animals used, the care and use of the animals involved and on how the project will be monitored. If a researcher does not comply with the AEC then approval for the project can be withdrawn, and the researcher can be charged under the relevant State legislation.
Most other developed countries have similar systems in place to regulate the use of animals in research, although they vary considerably in the way in which the regulations are enforced and the standards of housing and care that are applied. Standards of animal care in Australian laboratories are generally considered to be high compared to other countries.
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