The Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) has been established by the University Council to ensure the humane care of animals used for scientific purposes, including teaching, by staff and students within the University and to provide assistance to staff and students in the consideration of ethical issues involved in research.
Any use of animals for scientific purposes must follow the conditions set out in the Animal Welfare Act (2002) and the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes .
All research or teaching activities involving the use of animals for scientific purposes, including teaching requires approval from the Animal Ethics Committee (AEC).
This committee has the responsibility for review of the following projects:
- all teaching activities involving animals
- all staff research
- all student research including undergraduate, Honours and Masters by Coursework, Masters by Research and PhD
The primary role of the AEC is to ensure, on behalf of ECU, that all care and use of animals is conducted in compliance with the Code of Practice. The AEC must ensure that the use of animals is justified and provides for the welfare of those animals and incorporates the principles of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement.
The AEC has responsibility for approving only those studies for which animals are essential and justified and which conform to the requirements of the Code of Practice, taking into consideration the balance between impact on the animal(s) and the anticipated scientific or educational value.
In addition, the AEC also has the delegation and authority to inspect sites and monitor projects at remote sites.
The primary responsibility of each member of the AEC is to apply a set of principles, outlined in the Code of Practice that govern the ethical conduct of people whose work involves the use of animals for scientific purposes.
The Terms of Reference of the AEC here: AEC Terms of Reference
The Animal Ethics Committee is composed of people from the following categories:
- a Chairperson
- person with qualifications in veterinary science and with experience relevant to the activities of ECU
- suitably qualified person with substantial recent experience in the use of animals in scientific or teaching activities. This will usually entail possession of a higher degree
- a person with demonstrable commitment to, and established experience in, furthering the welfare of animals, who is not employed by or otherwise associated with ECU, and who is not involved in the care and use of animals for scientific purposes. The person should where possible be selected on the basis of active membership of, and nomination by, an animal welfare organisation
- an independent person who is both independent of ECU and who has never been involved in the use of animals for scientific or teaching activities, either in their employment or beyond their under-graduate education
- a person with experience in the routine care of animals used for scientific purposes, preferably from within ECU
On occasion, in order to ensure that the AEC functions effectively, the appointment of additional members with skills and background of value to the AEC additional to the required categories. The AEC may also invite people with specific expertise to provide advice as required.
The Research Ethics Officer acts as Executive Officer to the AEC.
Appointments, including re-appointments, to the AEC are made by Academic Board after taking into account the Committee's nominations for appointments to vacancies.
Meetings of the Animal Ethics Committee are held monthly (see schedule of Meeting Dates). Business discussed at meetings may include the following:
G&PS Ethics - Edith Cowan University
- Assessment of applications submitted to the AEC
- Noting of applications pending
- Noting of progress reports and final reports provided by researchers
- Discussion of applications involving complex issues
- Discussion with researchers invited to attend the meeting
- Discussion regarding new developments and/or issues that impact on the consideration of applications
- Consideration of information and new developments that may impact on the humane care of animals used for scientific purposes