Animal research authorities
Page revised: August 2017
The Animal Research Act 1985 requires that every person carrying out animal research must be the holder of an Animal Research Authority. It is an offence under the Act to carry out research without such an authority.
Animal Research Authorities are issued for specific projects at the time of project approval by an Animal Ethics Committee. The authorities can only be issued for a 12 month period, and need to be renewed annually during the life of any approved project that runs for more than 12 months.
The Authorities are issued by either an Accredited Animal Research Establishment or by the Secretary (in the case of researchers supervised by the Secretary’s Animal Ethics Committee). The Authorities can only be issued on the recommendation of an Animal Ethics Committee.
An Animal Research Authority must contain the following information:
- the location of the land on which the research is to be carried out
- a description of the type of animal research and the approved research project
- the Animal Ethics Committee which approved the project
- any conditions on the Authority
- the identification of the person who issued the Authority
- the identification of the person to whom the Authority is issued
- the date on which the Authority was issued
The authority must be "in or to the effect of" the approved form - Form C.
Applications for Animal Research Authorities
An application is usually made by the principal investigator on behalf of all people involved in a research project to the establishment’s Animal Ethics Committee (AEC). An application form, available from AECs, must requests for the following information:
- information required by Chapter 2.7 of the Australian Code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes
- information about any application made to another AEC for a similar project (including information about any refusal of such an application)
- identification of the location at which the research is to be conducted
- information about the cancellation of any Animal Research Authority or Animal Suppliers Licence held by the applicant
Accredited Animal Research Establishments and the Secretary have the right to refuse to issue Animal Research Authorities.
Authorities issued by Accredited Animal Research Establishments may be cancelled at any time by the establishment.
Complaints about Animal Research Authority Holders
The Act contains a comprehensive formal complaints mechanism to deal with complaints made to the Secretary about holders of Animal Research Authorities. Complaints can be laid against an Authority holder if research is carried out:
- in contravention of the Authority
- in contravention of the approval or directions of the AEC
- in contravention of the Australian Code
- with animals that have not been obtained from a licensed animal supplier (apart from exempt animals)
- by a person who is disqualified under the Act.
The Secretary must refer all complaints to the Animal Research Review Panel for investigation. Following this investigation, the Secretary may either dismiss the complaint, caution the Authority holder or suspend or cancel the Authority.
Cancellation of an Animal Research Authority by the Secretary disqualifies an individual for 12 months from receiving another Authority.
Record Keeping Requirements
Accredited Animal Research Establishments are required under the Act to keep records for 7 years of all Animal Research Authorities granted to independent researchers, and provide these records to the Secretary on an annual basis. The details to be recorded are contained in Form L – Animal use statistics .