Use of animals

Your responsibilities

As a researcher working with animals on an approved project, you are responsible for the welfare of the animals you use.

Your responsibilities extend to all aspects of the care and use of the animal during this time. The Chief Investigator is ultimately responsible for the welfare of every animal allocated to an approved project.

Your responsibilities begin from the moment an animal is allocated to the project to the time of disposal of the animal. It does not commence just at the time the "experiment" begins.

Stated purpose and procedures only

Animals allocated under a particular AEC Approval Number may not be used for any purposes other than the exact procedures stated in the approved application.

Monitoring of animal welfare

The AEC expects that animals will be monitored as described and approved in the application. After animals are allocated to a project, the Chief Investigator has primary responsibility for ensuring adequate monitoring of animal well-being. More about monitoring animals.

Before the experiment

During the period when an animal is allocated to a project, but BEFORE it is used in an experimental protocol, daily monitoring of the animals may be performed as part of the normal husbandry routines performed by Laboratory Animal Services Unit staff. The AEC expects that a member of the research team will monitor the animals allocated to the project at least twice weekly, regardless of whether daily monitoring of the animals is performed as part of the normal husbandry routines by the Animal Laboratory Services Unit staff.

After the experiment

AFTER an animal has entered an experimental protocol, the AEC expects that normal, healthy experimental animals will be observed by the researchers at least once daily, unless an amendment to this requirement has been specifically approved by the AEC. The nature of the daily monitoring and the person performing the monitoring would be determined by the level of potential impact on the well-being of the animals. In addition to daily monitoring, the AEC expects that monitoring of the animals in a research protocol will be conducted in accordance with the specific monitoring regime endorsed by the AEC for the project.

Identification of animals

All animals must be identified at all times e.g. cage cards, identification tags, collars or microchips. The identification must be linked to the name of the Chief Investigator and the AEC Approval Number for the project to which the animals is allocated.

Role of Laboratory Animal Services

Once an animal is allocated to your project, Laboratory Animal Services staff are no longer responsible for the welfare of that animal. That responsibility rests with the Chief Investigator of the project, and subsequently all those working with animals on the project.

The Laboratory Animal Services Unit staff provide the care of the animal, however, you must be aware of the standard of that care, and you are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the care is appropriate.

Animal house inspections

The Animal Ethics Committee conducts formal inspections of animal facilities and associated areas throughout the University, including the Camden and Cumberland campuses.

The Committee conducts approximately 19 animal facility inspections each year.

During these inspections the Committee checks and records:

  • smell
  • light
  • temperature
  • noise level
  • bedding
  • food
  • water
  • environmental enrichment
  • animal health
  • animals per cage
  • number of cages per room
  • general cleanliness
  • monitoring records (present in room)