RSPCA Policy D5 Animals in research

5.1RSPCA Australia advocates that the results of all research involving animals must be made available to the wider scientific community through published journal articles, conference proceedings or complete data sets, including inconclusive results or where project objectives are not met.
5.2Animal use statistics
5.2.1RSPCA Australia advocates that all institutions must provide consistent, publicly accessible annual animal use statistics including number and species of animals used, category and degree of intervention, the number and proportion of animals rehomed, and the number of animals either humanely killed or who have died.
5.2.2Annual animal use statistics must be reviewed by the regulator and progress reported on reducing the overall number of animals used, the number of animals used in invasive procedures, the number humanely killed and to increase the number of animals rehomed.
5.2.3State regulators must collect, collate and submit animal use statistics to the federal government for the publication of an annual report of national use statistics.
5.3Non-animal alternatives
5.3.1RSPCA Australia supports collaboration between institutions and mandatory reporting by institutions on the progress made to replace the use of animals.
5.3.2RSPCA Australia advocates for the establishment of a government funded national centre to support the development and implementation of non-animal alternatives for research and teaching.
5.4Non-human primates
5.4.1RSPCA Australia is opposed to the breeding and use of non-human primates for laboratory-based research. Non-human primates have complex and highly social behaviour, advanced cognitive capacity and their needs are extremely difficult to meet in a captive environment. Furthermore, non-human primates are often used and reused over many years increasing the likelihood of significant physiological and psychological suffering.
5.4.2Whilst the breeding and use of non-human primates for laboratory-based research continues, the RSPCA supports the establishment of a national advisory body with appropriate expertise to undertake the following:

  • Review all breeding and research projects involving non-human primates.
  • Conduct inspections of all breeding centres and institutions annually with provision to conduct random inspections.
  • Develop and review mandatory standards for procedures, care and management that meet the physiological, behavioural and social needs of the species.
  • Establish appropriate rehoming arrangements for animals to enable them to experience a good quality of life.
  • Advise and monitor progress to phase out breeding and use of non-human primates.
5.4.3RSPCA Australia is opposed to the importation or export of non-human primates for breeding or use in research.
5.5Specific tests and procedures

RSPCA Australia is opposed to the use of tests or procedures where there are inherent and insurmountable welfare risks, or where the tests or procedures have questionable scientific validity.
5.6Export of animals for research

RSPCA Australia is opposed to the export of animals for research to other countries due to the risk that animals may be used in countries without adequate animal welfare standards, regulations, monitoring or enforcement.

(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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