Animal Ethics

Animal Ethics

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Research Ethics at Macquarie University is supported by the Research Ethics and Integrity team in Research Services. The University reminds all investigators that they must comply with the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th Edition 2013. In particular, researchers must follow relevant legislation, other ethics guideline, policies and procedures established by the institution and the AEC (such as unexpected adverse event reporting).

Animal Ethics Committee

It is the responsibility of the Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) to ensure, on behalf of the University, that all care and use of animals is conducted in compliance with the The Code. The role of the AEC is to ensure that the use of animals is justified, provides for the welfare of the animals and incorporates the principles of replacement, reduction and refinement (also known as 'the three R's'):

  • replacement of animals with other methods
  • reduction in the number of animals used
  • refinement of techniques used to reduce the impacts on animals.

All staff and students who will be conducting research or demonstration teaching projects that involve the use of live vertebrate animals must apply to Macquarie University's Animal Ethics Committee for ethics review. This includes the use of animals in research, teaching, field trials, product testing, diagnosis, the production of biological products and environmental studies. Observational studies of wildlife also require AEC approval.

Projects involving animals may only commence with approval in writing from the Committee and once an Animal Research Authority (ARA) has been issued for the project. Approval may also be required from other relevant authorities outside of the University. All persons involved in the procedures of an approved project must also be approved by the AEC.

Click to download the AEC Terms of Reference.

If your research has biosafety or biohazards issues, including the use of recombinant DNA, potential pathogens, radioactive isotopes or other hazardous substances, the project may need clearance from the Institutional Biosafety Committee. Visit Biosafety, biosecurity and gene technology for more information.

AEC membership

The AEC is comprised of four categories of membership:

  • Category A - persons with qualifications and experience in veterinary science.
  • Category B - persons with substantial experience in the use of animals in scientific or teaching activities.
  • Category C - persons external to the University with a demonstrable commitment to and experience in furthering the welfare of animals.
  • Category D - persons external to the University who have never been involved in the use of animals in scientific or teaching activities and who represent the views of the wider community.


The Code defines Animal as "any live non-human vertebrate (that is, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals encompassing domestic animals, purpose-bred animals, livestock, wildlife) and cephalopods."

The Code defines Wildlife as "free-living animals of native or introduced species, including those that are captive bred and those captured from free-living populations."

Help and Support

Technical Enquiries

The IT Service Desk can assist applicants with issues ranging from network access to computer problems. Please consult this resource if you are experiencing technical or access difficulties.

Navigational Assistance

Visit the Animal Ethics Wiki page for information on how to use the system, processes, and quick reference guides.

Ethics Related Enquiries

If you wish to seek ethics guidance about specific questions contained within your application; please contact the Animal Ethics Secretariat: Email:

See also

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