RSPCA Policy D2 Regulation

2.1RSPCA Australia supports the requirement that all institutions where animals are used, bred or housed for research or teaching are licensed under state government legislation.
2.2As a minimum, all research and teaching using animals must be carried out to comply with jurisdictional legislative requirements and in accordance with the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes which requires proposals to be assessed and approved by an animal ethics committee.
2.3It should be a mandatory requirement that an independent audit is conducted for all research and teaching institutions at least every three years. The review report must be published to allow transparency and accountability.
2.4Staff who use and/or care for animals used for research and teaching must not be constrained from reporting suspect breaches of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (or its equivalent) to the regulator responsible for this legislation. The procedure for doing this must be clear, easily accessible and part of routine staff induction.
2.5Authorised officers must have authority to inspect premises, including records and reports, where animals are held for research or teaching purposes or related breeding or supply.
2.6An individual should have their research authority revoked and/or an institution’s research licence should be suspended if an investigation reveals that there has been a serious failure to comply with the requirements of the regulations resulting in animal suffering.
2.7RSPCA Australia supports the development and regulation of mandatory species-specific animal welfare standards for the housing, care, breeding, supply and transport of animals used for research and teaching.
2.8Animal ethics committees
2.8.1RSPCA Australia supports the use of animal ethics committees to assess proposals, ensure the welfare of the animals involved and monitor the care and use of animals used for research and teaching. Animal ethics committees should have individual members with veterinary (including relevant clinical veterinary expertise) and scientific expertise and independent members (including those with sound animal welfare knowledge).
2.8.2All animal use which falls under the definition of the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes must be subject to ethical review.
2.8.3Institutions must provide appropriate training and support to their animal ethics committee to enable it to function effectively.
2.8.4To be effective, animal ethics committees must ensure that applicants demonstrate the following in their ethics application:

  • Appropriate training and competency assessment are undertaken for all staff using and caring for animals, and that relevant training/competency records are maintained.
  • High standards of health, welfare and appropriate veterinary care of all animals.
  • Adequate monitoring of animal holding premises, procedures performed by staff and assessment of animal well-being.
  • Staff using and caring for animals keep detailed records of their (daily welfare) monitoring regime/program. These records must be accessible to the relevant animal ethics committees upon request.
  • Prompt reporting and appropriate action in relation to adverse and/or unexpected adverse events affecting animal welfare.
2.8.5Academic journals must only publish research approved by a legally recognised animal ethics committee, where ethics approval is required.
2.9Transparency and accountability

RSPCA Australia advocates that all animal ethics committees publish an annual report which includes a summary of all approved and rejected projects, publications resulting from projects using animals (including teaching outcomes) and nationally consistent animal use statistics.

(adopted 5/12/2020)

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Updated on December 8, 2020

RSPCA policies reflect the best available evidence to direct and guide RSPCA and others, to promote and achieve good animal welfare outcomes.

Reference to ‘the RSPCA’ or ‘RSPCA’ in this document means RSPCA Australia and each of the RSPCA Australia member Societies.

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