Using animals for scientific purposes

Page last updated: Monday, 17 January 2022 - 12:11pm

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In Western Australia, animals cannot be used or supplied for scientific purposes unless the use is in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act 2002 (the Act), Animal Welfare (Scientific Purposes) Regulations 2003 and a licence issued under the Act. A key condition of a licence is for the licensee to comply with the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes.

Scientific use of animals

The Act encompasses all aspects of the scientific use (including care) of animals where the aim is to acquire, develop or demonstrate knowledge or techniques in science. It includes the use of animals in research, teaching associated with an educational outcome in science, field trials, product testing and environmental studies.

The Act applies throughout the animal’s involvement in activities and projects, including acquisition, transport, breeding, housing, husbandry, the use of the animals in the project and the provisions for the animal at the completion of their use.

It is the responsibilities of all persons using animals for scientific purposes to ensure that:

  • Any activities are covered by a valid scientific use licence.
  • The use is in accordance with the scientific use licence.
  • They are conversant with the relevant legislation, in particular the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes.
  • Any work done is restricted to that approved by the relevant Animal Ethics Committee (AEC).
  • The activities are only carried out at premises or locations covered by the licence.

Individuals undertaking scientific use of animals without a valid licence, not authorised by a legally operating AEC, or under the authority of an improperly constituted AEC, or contrary to licence conditions are liable to prosecution. Penalties of up to $50 000 and imprisonment for 5 years can apply for breaches of the Act.


Contact information

Scientific Licensing

Further information on reporting animal cruelty is available.


Rick Bryant