Legislation and Policy relevant to Animal Ethics

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There are laws which govern the use of animals in research, teaching and product testing in each Australian state.

Although there is some variation in the statutory requirements of each state, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Guidelines - Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes sets out the common framework of the guiding principles.

The NHMRC has produced a number of additional guidelines which should be read in conjunction with the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th edition (2013)

Relevant NSW legislation

Wildlife legislation

In addition to the above legislation for vertebrates and cephalpods, in New South Wales, all native mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians (including threatened species) are protected by the National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1974 No 80.

Threatened species also have their habitat protected under the Threatened Species Conservation Act, 1995 No 101.


In addition to the requirements under the NSW Animal Research Act, 1985 No 123 scientific licenses are required to undertake an activity for scientific, educational or conservation purposes that is likely to harm or otherwise adverse impact on any protected/threatened animals or plants under the National Parks and Wildlife Act. Licenses can be obtained from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Further information

See also: Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) and its Regulations 2000

The importation of specimens or live animals requires approval from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

For further information and advice about requirements in NSW, including specific policies and guidelines, visit the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service website.

For further information advice about importing live animals and reproductive materials to Australia, visit the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.

Relevant policies