Policy

Responsible Care and Use of Animals in Teaching and Research - Policy

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1. Purpose and Objectives

This policy sets out the responsibilities of individuals associated with The University of Queensland with regard to the conduct of Research and Teaching involving the care and use of Animals for Scientific Purposes.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

ACPA- Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Queensland) (as amended from time to time).

ACPRAnimal Care and Protection Regulation 2012 (Queensland) (as amended from time to time).

AEC – an Animal Ethics Committee established in accordance with the terms of reference and membership laid down in the Animal Use Code or other international regulatory framework, as applicable.

Animal – (a) a non-human live member of a vertebrate animal taxon; (b) a live pre-natal or pre-hatched creature as follows if it is in the last half of gestation or development (i) a mammalian or reptilian foetus; (ii) an avian, mammalian or reptilian pre-hatched young; (c) live marsupial young; (d) a live invertebrate creature of a species, or stage of the life cycle of a species, from the class Cephalopoda. A human being or human foetus is not an animal.

Researchers are advised that, should animal research be conducted in other Australian states, this definition may change.

Animal Facility – any place operated by the University where Animals are kept, held or housed, including yards, paddocks, tanks, ponds, buildings, cages, pens and containers.

Animal Use CodeThe Australian Code for the Care and use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (as amended from time to time).

Animal Welfare – an Animal’s quality of life, which encompasses the diverse ways an Animal may perceive and respond to their circumstances, ranging from a positive state of wellbeing to a negative state of distress.

Biological material – includes, but is not limited to, blood, blood products, tissues, body fluids and any derivatives produced by chemical or physical means; micro-organisms – wild type or mutant.

Individuals Associated with The University of Queensland – University Staff, Occupational Trainees, Academic Title Holders, Visiting Academics, Conjoint Appointed Employees, Industry Fellows, Honorary and Adjunct Title Holders, Emeritus Professors, and any student (including under-graduate and post-graduate student) enrolled as a student in an approved course at the University, or in a course or program of study conducted by or on behalf of the University. For the purpose of this Policy, this definition also expands to the aforementioned individuals from external organisations who utilise Animal facilities managed by UQ.

Research - new and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous Research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes.

The Code - Australian code for the responsible conduct of Research (as amended from time to time).

Teaching - any action or group of actions undertaken with the aim of achieving a scientific purpose, where the scientific purpose is imparting or demonstrating knowledge or techniques to achieve an educational outcome in science, as specified in the relevant curriculum or competency requirements.

Scientific Purposes - An Animal is used for a scientific purpose if it is used in an activity or in connection with an activity performed to acquire, demonstrate or develop knowledge or techniques in a scientific discipline (for example, diagnosis, environmental studies, field trials, producing biological products, product testing, Research (including the creation and breeding of a new Animal line where the impact on Animal wellbeing is unknown or uncertain), or Teaching).

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to all individuals associated with the University who use and/or are responsible for the care of Animals for scientific purposes.

4. Policy Statement

The University is committed to the promotion of a culture of responsible and ethical conduct of Research. This policy describes the principles governing the decisions and actions of all Researchers and students in the care and use of Animals for Scientific Purposes. This policy should be read in conjunction with the documents cited above, including the Animal Use Code and The Code.

Any individual associated with the University who uses or is responsible for the care of an Animal for Scientific Purposes, or any external party utilising a UQ-managed Animal Facility, must obtain written approval from the appropriate UQAEC prior to commencing the activity and comply with the Animal Use Code as well as the relevant legislation in the State in which the activity is being conducted in order to ensure Animal Welfare is maintained. In the State of Queensland, these are the ACPA and ACPR. In addition, there must be adherence to established UQ Animal handling and surgical procedures in conducting the approved activity.

5. Animal Ethics and Welfare

5.1 Legislation and Codes

The ACPA and ACPR legislate how the State will enforce the requirements of the Animal Use Code. Each State in Australia has established legislation for the care and use of Animals for Scientific Purposes, and individuals associated with the University who are conducting Research or Teaching activities in multiple States must ensure compliance with the relevant legislation as well as the Animal Use Code.

The ACPA, ACPR and Animal Use Code govern all aspects of the care and use of Animals for Scientific Purposes. The aim is to acquire, develop or demonstrate knowledge or techniques in any area of science, including breeding. This includes the use of Animals in Research (including the creation and breeding of a new Animal line where the impact on Animal wellbeing is unknown or uncertain), Teaching associated with an educational outcome in science, field trials, product testing, diagnosis, the production of biological products and environmental studies.

The ACPA, ACPR and Animal Use Code apply throughout an Animal’s involvement in activities and projects, including acquisition, transport, breeding, housing, husbandry, the use of any Animals in a project, and the provisions for the Animal at the completion of their use.

5.2 Governing Principles for the care and use of Animals for Scientific Purposes

The following governing principles and ethical framework guide decisions and actions of all individuals involved in the care and use of Animals for Scientific Purposes.

(a) Respect for Animals must underpin all decisions and actions involving the care and use of Animals for Scientific Purposes. This respect is demonstrated by:

(i)     using Animals only when it is justified;

(ii)    supporting the wellbeing of the Animals involved;

(iii)    avoiding or minimising harm, including pain and distress, to those Animals;

(iv)   applying high standards of scientific integrity;

(v)    applying Replacement, Reduction and Refinement (the 3Rs) at all stages of Animal care and use:

(A) the Replacement of Animals with other methods;

(B) the Reduction in the number of Animals used; and

(C) the Refinement of techniques used to minimize the adverse impact on Animals; and

(vi)   knowing and accepting one’s responsibilities.

(b) The care and use of Animals for Scientific Purposes must be subject to ethical review as prescribed by the Animal Code.

(c) A judgement as to whether a proposed use of Animals is ethically acceptable must be based on information that demonstrates the principles in sub clause 5.2(a) and must balance whether the potential effects on the wellbeing of the Animals involved is justified by the potential benefits.

(d) The obligation to respect Animals, and the responsibilities associated with this obligation, apply throughout the Animal’s lifetime, including acquisition, transport, breeding, housing, husbandry, use of the Animal in a project, and provisions for the Animal at the conclusion of their use.

Each person involved in the care and use of Animals for Scientific Purposes must consider these governing principles when applying the Animal Use Code to their specific circumstances.

5.3 Ethical Responsibilities

5.3.1 All individuals associated with the University using Animals in any form (including Biological material derived from Animals) or undertaking a Research or Teaching activity that involves the use, handling or observation of Animals, or affects the habitat of Animals, must obtain University AEC approval before commencement of the work. That approval may be in the form of an administrative review conducted by the relevant University AEC in order to provide ratification of an approval from an external AEC. This applies regardless of the location, or when individuals external to the University are utilising UQ-managed Animal Facilities.

5.3.2 Approval is limited to the specific details included in the original application (including, but not limited to project scope, procedures, timeframe, location, and named personnel).

5.3.3 Any modification to the original approved application must be reviewed and approved by a UQAEC prior to any change being implemented.

5.3.4 All Research or Teaching activities involving Animals must cease immediately an Animal Ethics Approval has reached its date of expiry. Research or Teaching activities which continue beyond the approval date may constitute misconduct or Research misconduct. Should any Animals be placed at risk due to cessation of the activity, individuals associated with the University must immediately notify the University’s Animal Ethics Unit.

5.4 Reporting

All individuals associated with the University must fulfil all reporting requirements, including:

  • Submission of Mandatory Annual Reports by the due date;
  • Reporting of Adverse Events in a timely manner;
  • Responding to written requests for information by a University AEC within the prescribed timeframe;
  • Providing a completion report as soon as possible after completing or no longer working on a project;
  • Reports regarding the creation and maintenance of genetically modified Animals;
  • Providing records of Animal care and use when requested by the AEC, the University or authorised external reviewers;
  • Any other reports required by a University AEC.

Failure to report as required constitutes non-compliance with the Animal Use Code and the Animal Care Protection Act.

5.5 Overseas Research Activities

All individuals associated with the University who are undertaking Research or Teaching activities in other countries must obtain approval from the appropriate University AEC prior to commencement of any activities.

In addition, if the activity is to be conducted in a collaboration, Researchers must also obtain approval from the relevant AEC associated with the collaborator(s) or collaborating organisation. If the country in which the Research to be conducted has established standards for Animal care and use similar to those in Australia, it may be possible for the relevant University AEC to ratify the approval of the collaborating institution’s AEC or equivalent body.

It is a requirement that Australian Researchers working with animals in other countries still comply with the Animal Use Code as well as local regulatory requirements. If there are no regulatory requirements in the overseas location/s, the minimum standard of the Animal Use Code must be adhered to.

6. Compliance

All individuals associated with the University and individuals external to the University utilising UQ Animal Facilities must comply with this Policy and relevant legislation and codes including those detailed in this Policy.

Departures from the standards of conduct outlined in this Policy may amount to misconduct or serious misconduct on the part of the individual.

7. Observance of Laws and Other Regulatory Guidelines

All Researchers and students must comply with all relevant laws, guidelines of regulatory agencies and institutional policies.

Breaches of the ACPA and ACPR can result in penalties up to and including fines and imprisonment.

Custodians
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
Professor Robyn Ward
Custodians
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
Professor Robyn Ward