Application and Approval Process
It is important for Researchers to consider ethical implications within their research as early as possible in the development of their research proposal. It is the responsibility of the investigator to ensure that all facets of animal care and use meet the requirements of the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes. When developing a research project respect for and the well-being of animals must be addressed and researchers must consider the Governing Principles of the code throughout the development of the project, which are:
- using animals only when it is justified
- supporting the well-being of the animals involved
- avoiding or minimising harm, including pain and distress, to those animals
- applying high standards of scientific integrity
- applying Replacement, Reduction and Refinement (the 3Rs) at all stages of animal care and use:
- the Replacement of animals with other methods
- the Reduction in the number of animals used
- the Refinement of techniques used to minimise the adverse impact on animals
- knowing and accepting one's responsibilities.
In addition, you may need to consider the following:
- consult with co-researchers/supervisors
- read the Australian Code
- seek peer review
- obtain necessary institutional approvals
- develop participant resources such as Animal Use Consent.
- procure and source animals
- determine a timeline for the commencement of your research after approval
- consideration of the use of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
Standard Operating Procedures
Standard Operating Procedures, or SOPs, are approved by the Charles Sturt University Animal Care and Ethics Committee (CSU ACEC) in compliance with the Code for commonly used teaching and research activities. The use of SOPs reduce paperwork for applications submitted to the Committee. Legislation still requires the ACEC to consider and approve all teaching and research activities involving animals and to monitor the progress and management of those projects.
Researchers can review the current list of approved SOPs and applicants may simply refer to the SOP by name and approval code in their applications for procedures to be used during their teaching or research projects.
Applications must be submitted on the appropriate form. Fully completed applications must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org in sufficient time to allow applications to be considered by the ACEC prior to commencement of the project.
It is important for applicants to remember the composition of the ACEC when preparing their application. Applications must be written primarily for an interested person without a scientific background, not for a specialist. The use of specialist language is not helpful to the committee and may delay processing of an application while explanations are being sought.
In assessing applications it is often difficult for the ACEC to obtain a clear picture of what happens to individual animals from the beginning to the end of the project. To ensure the committee is able to assess your application in a timely fashion it is important to provide the required information and the provision or clarification of the following:
Responses should consider
|Aim of the project||In lay terms, provide a description of the aims and significance of the project, remembering to provide a balance between brevity and completeness|
|Animal Use||Clearly explain why the use of animals and species is justified including why non animal alternatives cannot be used|
|Number of animals||Explain clearly why the number of animals has been chosen. Too few animals (resulting in statistically insignificant data) may be as much of a problem as too many animals (in terms of wastage of the use of animals)|
|Sequence of events||Clarify what is happening to the animals from the beginning to the end of the project and over what time sequence. Flow charts and other diagrams are often helpful. Where several groups of animals receive different treatments, listing them in tabular form may assist|
|Impact||The impact of procedures needs to be clearly detailed. The investigator should provide a step by step examination of all treatments (substances, dose rates, routes, volumes, anaesthetics, surgical procedures etc) and the expected effects|
|Monitoring||The level of monitoring required will vary according to the type of research and animals used. Details should include methods used and frequency of monitoring|
|Housing and management||Standards of animal housing and management can have a significant effect on animal well-being and thus on experimental results. It is therefore important that a full description of housing is provided|
|Source||Under the legislation, non-exempt animals must be obtained from a licensed animal supplier. Issues such as capture of wild animals or obtaining animals from remote sources that will necessitate prolonged transport will also need to be considered by the committee and details should be as complete as possible|
|Technical Competence||If technical competence and experience is relevant to the species to be used ensure the necessary details on experience as well as type and length (years) of experience is included|
Use of Animals in a Film or Production
The use of animals in either film or theatrical production is protected under the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals in Films and Theatrical Productions, which is attached to The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (General) Regulation 1986.
Formal approval is required from the Animal Care and Ethics Committee to use animals in a film or teaching production at CSU. The appropriate form must be submitted in addition to notifying the RSPCA as outlined below. Only staff may submit Use of Animals for Teaching Purposes applications. Students will need to consult with their Supervisors before continuing.
When preparing a film or theatrical production which uses animals, you must ensure you are familiar with your responsibilities under the Code of Practice and the Film Industry Safety Guidance notes. You must notify the RSPCA using the Notification Form attaching a copy of the script scenes involved unless the animals are being used as background only.
The RSPCA must be notified if any major changes are made to the script, which involve animals.
If native animals are to be involved in your production in any way, it would be advisable to consult with the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Completed applications should be forwarded via email to email@example.com allowing sufficient time for approval prior to the commencement of the research project. The ACEC meetings are scheduled for the second Thursday of each month from February to December and applications are considered at these meetings. Please note, any use of animals must not occur without official notice of authority being provided by the ACEC.
As applications can sometimes be complex, it is recommended that applicants ensure submission with enough time to allow for two scheduled meetings of the committee to occur prior to the date the research project will commence. This should allow sufficient time to clarify any issues which the Committee may have before research begins. This is particularly helpful for wildlife research projects, where members may need more information before confidently granting approval.
Once applications have been considered Researchers/Subject co-ordinators will be notified of the outcome within seven to ten working days.
If an application has been approved an authority with the protocol number will be issued and research/teaching can commence.
In situations where the project starting date is within a week of the meeting all efforts will be made to email researchers within 48 hours after the meeting is held, advising the Committee's decision and allocating a protocol number if approval has been granted.
It should be noted that research/teaching involving the use of animals must not commence without a current authority for the project. Commencement before an authority is issued is a non-compliance under the code and has serious consequences. This will not only affect the current project but can have implications for your future projects and those of others.