Records must be easily accessible to AEC and animal care staff.
Records to be kept include:
- Emergency contact
- AEC letter of approval
- General observation record and acute monitoring record
Cage pens and enclosures must be clearly identified with AEC, researcher name, number of animals, +/- DPB DO arrival, sex and strain.
While laboratory animal house staff may assist with record keeping, ultimate responsibility rests with the Chief Investigator named on the Animal Ethics application form. If adequate records are not kept it may result in the suspension of all protocols on which a researcher’s name appears.
Researchers have a legal obligation to "ensure that adequate records are kept on the acquisition, breeding, health, care, housing, use and disposal of animals."
Good record keeping:
- is essential to good animal welfare just as it is to good research
- helps provide reassurance to the wider community that appropriate care is being paid to the way in which animals are used.
- enables collection of data for the statutory reporting of animal production and use.
For further detail on record keeping you should also refer to:
- the NSW Animal Research Act and Regulation
- the NHMRC Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes, 7th Edition, 2004
- NSW Department of Primary Industries Animal Welfare Branch publications
Records to be kept in the Animal Room
The following identification and documentation must be maintained for research animals:
- ‘Constant’ information (AEC number; name of researcher; cage ID; number of animals, date of birth, date of arrival, sex, strain).
- Brief notes outlining the nature and date of any events that might affect the welfare or appearance of the animals (e.g. administration of substances, removal or addition of animals, surgery, births, illness or abnormal findings).
Specially printed post-it notes are used to mark cages when a researcher has been notified of an abnormal finding relating to the health or appearance of an animal. These notes include instructions on how the incident is to be recorded.
Individual records for larger animal species
In the case of species such as rabbits, cats, dogs, sheep or pigs, individual animals should be identified by means such as ear tagging or microchipping and a separate record kept for each animal.
Tracking of animals used
It is important that all animals bred or purchased can be accounted for. Some means of tracking litters or consignments of animals must therefore be incorporated into any record system.
Researchers breeding their own animals must keep full records of the number of breeders, number born, litter sizes, number weaned, mortalities and number culled surplus to requirements. These data should be available for inspection and reporting.