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

ID: 
32
Personal Details
Organisation Name: 
School of Anatomy and Human Biology, UWA
C. Additional Information
Please identify the best term to describe the Organisation: 
University
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?: 

The School of Anatomy and Human Biology at UWA, with around 7academic staff and many postgraduate studdents using animals for research, wishes to endorse the [confidential submission] on this matter. 

Concern:  Experimental work involving preclinical assessments of treatment strategies for a range of conditions frequently requires anaesthesia and surgery on animals in high throughput fashion. Some experiments may require many surgical interventions/treatments per animal over long periods (up to months).Anaesthesia and/ or surgery is also often required for tissue collection for primary cultures or antibody generation. Bioimaging facilities (such as the CMCA at UWA, which comprises a suite of instruments including micro-CT and multispectral whole small animal imaging) for live animal imaging would be entirely dependent on the anaesthesia of animals.

Response: A requirement for the presence of a veterinarian at all such procedures;

  • may be useful/justified for pilot studies where researcher and veterinarian discuss best practice and requirements of procedure
  • is entirely unnecessary for established projects/research groups whose standard operating procedures have already been approved by the AEC,
  •  ignores the considerable expertise (in anaesthesia and surgical techniques) present within research teams. Researchers have been specifically trained in procedures required for conducting successful experimental studies in specific animal models. The highly qualified researcher’s may be the only scientists at UWA with certified training (sometimes obtained overseas) in a particular technique and have insight into the multifaceted impacts of procedures (including anaesthesia, surgery, pre and post-operative husbandry and welfare). The experience and training of a veterinarian does not encompass all these cellular and biochemical aspects and cannot replace the knowledge of the trained scientist.
  • would necessitate the employment of a veterinarian as an additional member of research teams (perhaps even at each animal facility), as it is unlikely that the UWA AWO veterinary team would be able to attend every surgical procedure and anaesthesia currently performed under its jurisdiction (certainly at current staffing levels).
  • would adversely impact any Bioimaging facility for imaging of live animals and would require  employment of a veterinarian by a particular centre.
7. Is there clear connection between the Code of Practice and the NHMRC Guidelines to promote the wellbeing of animals used for scientific purposes: The assessment and alleviation of pain and distress in research animals (2008) (Wellbeing Guidelines)?: 

The School of Anatomy and Human Biology at UWA, with around 7academic staff and many postgraduate studdents using animals for research, wishes to endorse the [confidential submission] on this matter.

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?: 

The School of Anatomy and Human Biology at UWA, with around 7academic staff and many postgraduate studdents using animals for research, wishes to endorse the [confidential submission] on this matter.

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? : 

The School of Anatomy and Human Biology at UWA, with around 7academic staff and many postgraduate studdents using animals for research, wishes to endorse the [confidential submission] on this matter.

Page reviewed: 1 March, 2013