Animal ethics and the use of animals

Page last updated: Thursday, 25 October 2018 - 8:38am

A number of Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) staff members work with live animals for scientific, diagnostic and inspectorial purposes, and also as an element of farming systems employed by some research stations.

The care and use of animals in Western Australia is subject to provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2002 (the Act) which provides for the welfare, safety and health of animals used for scientific purposes.

The use of animals for 'scientific purposes' by DPIRD is subject to licensing under the Act, which is underpinned by the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes.

The Animal Welfare Act 2002 is complemented by the following regulations:

  • Animal Welfare Regulations (Scientific Purposes) 2003
  • Animal Welfare Regulations (General) 2003
  • NHMRC - Guidelines to Promote the Wellbeing of Animals Used for Scientific Purposes
  • Animal Ethics Committee.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2002 any proposed trial work involving animals and DPIRD resources must be approved by the department's Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) prior to commencement.

The Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (the Code) embodies a system of self-regulation by which each scientific establishment must put in place processes to ensure that the care and use of animals for scientific purposes is undertaken in an ethical and humane manner.

The Code defines areas of responsibility and sets out the principles that guide these activities to ensure the expected goals are met. A key component of any institutional process is the AEC which determines whether a proposed use of animals is justified according to the principles of the Code, and then monitors the ongoing scientific activities. Importantly, through the membership of the AEC, the Code requires input from the wider community in the oversight of these activities.

Contact information

Barry Savage
+61 (0)8 9368 3513


Andy Paterson