Blood and biological sample collection

From the NH&MRC Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 8th Edition, 2013:

  • 5.7.1 A wide range of minor procedures are used in the field which involve only capture and release, possibly facilitated by tranquillisers or short-acting anaesthetics. Such procedures could include identification (e.g. leg banding, ear tagging, microchipping, radio-tracking devices), examination, measurement, and sampling (e.g. hair, feathers, scales, blood, stomach contents of birds). Such procedures may be carried out, subject to AEC approval, but only if the following requirements are met:
    (i) all procedures are conducted by appropriately qualified and experienced persons, using clean equipment in each instance, in an uncontaminated area;
    (ii) equipment necessary to provide for the health and welfare of the animals and relief of pain is readily available;
    (iii) uneventful recovery to full consciousness should occur in an area in which animals can be readily observed, can maintain normal body temperature, and are protected from injury or predation;
    (iv) the potential impact of the procedures on dependent young is minimised; and
    (v) the methods and equipment used are appropriate to the species.

Ethics application tips

Where a project involves blood collection from animals, the application must provide precise details of the blood collection procedures:

  • The volume of blood to be collected
  • The frequency of blood collection
  • The period over which blood will be collected
  • The route by which blood will be collected
  • The technique by which blood will be collected (eg acute venipuncture vs chronic indwelling intravenous catheter)
  • The method by which the animal will be restrained for blood collection
  • The use of anaesthesia and / or analgesia
  • The methods of animal monitoring and frequency with which these methods will be implemented.
  • The experience of the operator relevant to the species of animal to be used and the blood collection procedures to be undertaken.
  • Where the volumes of blood to be collected or the frequency of collection exceeds recommendations, then it is the responsibility of the chief investigator to provide justification for this to the AEC and to provide detailed information on the impact on the animals and the measures in place to monitor the animals.