NHMRC Public Consultations

Skip Navigation and go to Content
Visit NHMRC website

Draft Principles and guidelines for the care and use of non-human primates for scientific purposes submission

This submission reflects the views of
Organisation Name: 
Sentient, The Veterinary Institute for Animal Ethics
Please identify the best term to describe the Organisation: 
Ethics / bioethics organisation
Personal Details
Option 1 - Online comments
General comments on section/paragraph of the draft NHP Guidelines: 
Part A - Using non-human primates only when justified

1: We suggest adding to this sentence so that it reads as follows: "Non-human primates must not be used for scientific purposes except when (i) no alternative to the use of non-human primates is suitable to achieve the stated aims of the project, and (ii) the potential effects on the non-human primates are justified by the potential benefits for the individual animal and/or their species (this should not include potential benefits for human health) and (iii) when their use will not have any appreciable negative impact on the animals involved, eg., observational studies, activities already being undertaken for management or veterinary purposes 

4: "Great apes must not be imported from overeas for use for scientific purposes." We suggest replacing "great apes" with "non-human primates of any species" because the impact of long distance transportation has the potential to cause physiological and psychological distress to all non-human primates and can be potentially lethal.

Part A - Avoiding or minimising harm, including pain and distress

In the section 'Provisions at the conclusion of their use', in point 22, we agree that "Provision for non-human primates at the conclusion of their use must take into account their long-term welfare", but the rest of the paragraph is inadequate. It is not sufficient to 'consider' retirement as an option. We submit finding suitable retirement options for non-human primates after their involvement in a research project must be mandatory, with options established before the researchers are granted ethics approval to proceed. These options must be in the form of a sanctuary where non-human primates can live with conspecifics and enjoy the most natural lifestyle possible for their species. Said sanctuaries must also be financially stable, and proof of such must be provided prior to granting ethics approval.

In point 25, we would argue that Australian-bred non-human primates must never be exported due to the stress involved in long distance transportation.

Part B - B.1. Animal health

Monitoring (1.3 and 1.4): The ‘competent person’ who regularly assesses the health and wellbeing of non-human primates must be a veterinarian with clinical experience managing the health of these species. This regular assessment by a veterinarian must apply to all non-human primates kept for research purposes, whether or not they are currently involved in a project.


Part B - B.5. Housing and care – general

Social interaction (5.7 and 5.8): Individual caging must never be approved for research projects involving non-human primates. Temporary isolation should only be allowed for essential veterinary treatment or quarantine, in which case the animal must be provided with auditory and visual contact with other non-human primates of the same species.

Page reviewed: 16 September, 2016