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Legislation & Regulation In Oceania

Legislation & Regulation in Australia

In Australia, animal use in scientific research is regulated by the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes. This is a national document, first produced by the National Health and Medical Research Council in 2013. The purpose of this code is to promote humane and responsible care of animals used within research, and provide details of responsibilities for institutions, animal carers, ethics committees and investigators.

Under the code, all living non-human vertebrates and cephalopods are protected. In terms of early life stage protection, the code states that decisions surrounding their welfare should be based on evidence of their neurobiological development, on a case to case basis, with their gestational/incubational progress taken into account too.

The 3R’s is one of the governing principles of the National Code. Replacement, refinement and reduction should be applied throughout all stages of animal use during research. Before research using animals is considered, existing information on the proposed aims of the project must be examined closely. This includes looking at available alternative methods and pre-existing data.

Territorial legislation

As well as the Code of Practice, each territory has their own laws regulating animals in research, mainly focusing on licensing and approval of research. All territories have very similar licensing approaches within their individual acts. The National Code of Practice is enforced into all territorial legislation, making it legally binding and mandatory to follow throughout Australia.

New South Wales are the only territory to have a dedicated piece of legislation for animals in research with the Animal Research Act 1995. This act requires those carrying out research using animals, and those supplying animals for research, to be authorised to do so and be an accredited research establishment.

In the Australian Capital Territory, the Animal Welfare Act 1992 has a section regarding animal research, teaching and breeding. Those conducting research must have obtained a license from the Animal Welfare Authority. This also applies to the breeding of animals for research.

In Western Australia, the Animal Welfare Act 2002 states research can only be conducted at an establishment that holds a license, or by a member of staff/student that holds a license authorising their specific use for animals in research. On top of the Animal Welfare Act, Western Australia also have the Animal Welfare (Scientific Purposes) Regulations 2003, which requires that all animal use for scientific research must comply with the nation code of practice.

Northern Territory, part 4 of the Animal Protection Act 2018  is dedicated to the regulation of scientific users of animals, and states that licenses must be obtained from the relevant ethics committee, subject to the conditions of the act and the national code of practice.

In Queensland, under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001, anyone that wishes to use animals in scientific research must register with Biosecurity Queensland, get approval from an animal ethics committee and keep the relevant documentation ready at all times.

In South Australia, the Animal Welfare Act 1985 requires that animal ethics committees approve any licensing requests for animal use in experimentation and teaching.

In Victoria, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act 1986 regulates compliance with the nation code, and requires that any research must be licensed, with licenses issues by an animal ethics committee, within an authorised premises.

In Tasmania, the Animal Welfare Act 1993 requires that institutions in which animal research is to take place must be licensed by the Minister, and all projects involving animals must be approved and monitored by Animal Ethics Committees.

Legislation & Regulation in New Zealand

In New Zealand, the Animal Welfare Act 1999 sets out regulations for animals used in research. This is not a piece of legislation that is specific to animals used in research, and covers a number of different animal practices.  A government framework called the Good Practice Guide for Research, Testing and Teaching 2019 also provides comprehensive details of how research involving animals should be conducted. This includes:

  • What animals are protected in research
  • Project approval and licensing
  • Responsibilities of National Animal Ethics Advisory Committees
  • Housing and husbandry facilities
  • Non-compliance procedures
  • Breeding
  • Inspections

As well as the Animal Welfare Act and Good Practice Guide, New Zealand also have the Animal Welfare (Records and Statistics) Regulations. These regulations require in-depth record keeping to be conducted when using animals in research. This includes project applications, any procedures carried out, the animals and species used, the source of each individual animal, any site visits that have taken place, and any complaints that have been made.

The Animal Welfare Act 1999 defines an animal as “any live member of the animal kingdom that is mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, octopus, squid, crab, lobster, crayfish or any other member of the animal kingdom which is declared from time to time by the governor-general.” Like ASPA, some species are protected during early life stages. This includes any mammalian foetus, or any avian or reptilian pre-hatched young that are in the last half of its gestation or development period, and any marsupial pouch young.

In New Zealand, research is defined as any work that involves manipulation of any animal, or any routine breeding of animals that may result in the birth or production of an animal that is more susceptible to pain or distress.

Cosmetic testing

The testing of finished cosmetic products and ingredients indented for cosmetic products has been banned in New Zealand since 2015. An amendment stating the ban has been written into the Animal Welfare Act.

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