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: 
11
Personal Details
First Name: 
Andrea
Last Name: 
Liebert
E. Submission
Types: 
Online Written Submission
Written Submission: 
General Comments
Select if you wish to make general comments about the draft revised Code of Practice.
General Comments
General Comments: 

I used to be an Animal Technician at [third party information removed] in the late 1980s, and I hope animal ethics have improved since then. I had pride in the way I cared for the wallabies, but was deeply upset with the way they were used and abused at times. For example, the pouch young were pinned alive by their hands and feet under microscopes, regular blood collection resulted in animals having scarred tails that required repeat and distressing needles, the scientists varied their care depending on deadlines e.g. reports and funding, regularly wallabies were captured from the wild and struggled to acclimatise to confinement. In the two years the compound and laboratories were only inspected once (that I was aware of), there was plenty of notice, and I wasn't invited/present. My experiences turned me away from a career in science and has left me wary and concerned about using animals for scientific purposes.

Overall I think the new code of practice is good, and I hope it is implemented well.  Although I still feel it could be possible for poor practice to go undetected.

So my main recommendations are:

  1. AEC and external inspections are without notice and random.  It is too easy to hide bad practice and ensure it doesn't happen when inspections are being carried out.
  2. Animal Technicians are educated about their AEC, how they can use the code,  and report anything they feel is against the code and/or could be improved - to improve the situation without fear of losing their job and/or harming their career.

 

 

Page reviewed: 1 March, 2013