Non-research animals at Accredited Animal Research Establishments
Animal Research Review Panel Policy 4
Revised: December 2017
Under the Animal Research Act 1985 the responsibilities of an Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) of an Accredited Animal Research Establishment do not extend to overseeing the care and management of the Establishment’s animals that are not used in animal research. Such animals may include companion animals, commercial livestock, working dogs and horses. However, AECs have expertise in the care and management of animals and should be seen as a valuable resource to advise on the care and management of non-research animals at Accredited Establishments.
Non-research animals at Accredited Animal Research Establishments are covered by the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979. The head of an Accredited Animal Research Establishment has responsibility for the care of all animals at the Establishment, including animals that are not used for research. It may be appropriate to use the AEC as an occasional or permanent advisory body on the care and management of non-research animals and on the development of standards and policies relating to such care and management.
There are recognised minimum standards for the care and management of many species – see links at Animal Welfare, NSW Department of Primary Industries . Apart from strict legal compliance (avoiding cruelty), there is a general community expectation that animals will be treated humanely. As an expert body, the AEC is in an ideal position to interpret existing standards, develop new standards and provide advice on appropriate policies for non-research animals at the Establishment.
Issues related to the care and management of non-research animals may be brought to the attention of the AEC through a variety of routes. For example, a research project involving commercial livestock may focus the AEC's attention on the Establishment's normal standard of husbandry for this species, or the AEC may receive a complaint from a member of staff or the general public about the management of non-research animals. It is reasonable for the AEC to investigate such matters and to provide comment to the Establishment and for the Establishment to consider and implement the recommendations of the AEC.