NHMRC Public Consultations

Skip Navigation and go to Content
Visit NHMRC website

Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes submission

ID: 
61
Personal Details
First Name: 
Geoffrey
Last Name: 
Head
E. Submission
Types: 
Online Written Submission
Written Submission: 
Specific issues requiring particular consideration
After consultation with stakeholders during the initial phases of this review, specific issues have been identified as requiring particular consideration. Your comment is invited on these issues.
Specific issues requiring particular consideration
5. Should the document include specific guidance regarding the responsibilities of Veterinarians and Animal Welfare Officers?: 

1.I do not believe that a responsibilities of veterinarians and animal welfare officers need to be further clarified with specific guidance as this would become far too prescriptive and difficult to manage.

2. The suggestion and for direct victory involvement in the oversight of veterinary care program and the conduct of research procedures such as being responsible for performing all surgical interventions would be so  onerous and impractical to make research that requires surgery effectively cease. It is not at all practical to have a veterinarian on staff in research laboratories to perform the quantity of surgery career required. The most convincing argument against this proposal is that veterinarians are not trained to perform the extremely complex surgery involved in much of the medical research areas. Some of the procedures takes years of practice to perfect to make them speedy, with high rates of success and minimal trauma to the animals. To introduce an untrained Vetinarian to perform such surgeries would be a severe retrograde step for animal welfare. As an integrated physiologist of 30 years standing I have a very high degree of skill in experimental animal surgery. Some procedures, I still perform on a daily basis within the laboratory because it requires this experience to have the high degree of success and minimal complications for the animal. The minimum training that anyone in my laboratory would have before being allowed to perform surgery would be at least 1 year and only then for the less complex interventions. They also require scientific training involving testing of devices as they are being implanted to ensure they are correctly functioning. The skill and training required is not unlike what is required for human surgery which depending on the complexity, can take considerable time. The availability and cost of training a practicing vet to do this is beyond the capacity of the experimental laboratory and if mandated would make our work completely impractical.  

10.Comment is sought regarding the proposal for a Category E membership category for an Animal Ethics Committee to be mandatory for institutions that have or maintain animal breeding or holding facilities. How would the proposed changes work for your AEC?: 

Cat E should remain as an adjunct non voting member. This avoids the conflict of interest in directing changes to animal practice that could benefit financially the animal facility. eg requiring unnecessary employment of animal staff for supervising/ performing tsks. This can occur whe the animal facility is its own business.

11. Should the document include a guide regarding the longest duration of approval granted by an Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) for a project before submission of a new application is required? : 

NO This should be at the discretion of the committee.

Page reviewed: 1 March, 2013