Legislation policy and guidelines

Legislation policy and guidelines

This website is updated on an ongoing basis to reflect new procedures, policies and information pertaining to the welfare of animals used in scientific research and teaching.

Please regularly check this website for updates and contact animal.ethics@mq.edu.au if you have any questions about the procedures you must follow when using animals in your research or teaching activities.


Legislation you should be familiar with and operate within includes but is not limited to:

AEC Policies

Conducting research interstate

If you are conducting research interstate or overseas there may be additional legislation or guidelines that you need to comply with. Please check with the Department of Agriculture or Primary Industries in the state in which you wish to do your research or contact the Animal Ethics Secretariat.

Additional information can be found at Animal Ethics Infolink - Legislation

Collaborative research

The term 'collaborative' research includes animal research projects that are carried out under informal collaborative arrangements at more than one institution.

Under the Code, Macquarie University's AEC must be informed about collaborative research projects involving Macquarie University researchers even if they are being conducted at other institutions in Australia or overseas (see The Code)

Please note that before any work commences each AEC must approve, or delegate approval of, scientific and teaching activities being conducted by members of its institutions.

If your research is likely to involve collaboration with other institutions, please contact the Animal Ethics Secretariat at animal.ethics@mq.edu.au.

For collaborative work that has already been approved by the AEC of another institution, and involves Macquarie University staff and/or students, the following must be submitted to the Macquarie University AEC (via the Forms for Research Applications (FoRA) System) as notification of collaborative work:

  • A signed copy of the application exactly as it was submitted to the Institutional AEC.
  • Copies of all correspondence between the researcher and the Institutional AEC.
  • Notification of all approved changes to the project (including ARA renewals, amendments, progress reports, changes to personnel etc) from the host AEC.
  • A copy of the letter of final approval and any relevant approval documentation from the Institutional AEC.
  • It is the responsibility of Macquarie University Collaborators to ensure the Macquarie University AEC is kept informed in this way.

Re-use of animals

When planning your research please note that the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th edition states that:

"Individual animals must not be used in more than one scientific activity, either in the same or different projects, without AEC approval. However appropriate re-use of animals may reduce the total number of animals used in a project, result in better experimental design, reduce distress or avoid pain to other animals.

When considering approval for the reuse of animals, the AEC must take into account:

  1. the pain or distress and any potential long-term accumulative effects caused by any previous procedures
  2. the total time that an animal will be used
  3. the pain or distress likely to be caused by the next and subsequent procedures
  4. whether an animal has fully recovered from the previous procedure before being used in the next"

Re-homing of animals

Macquarie University's AEC has a Re-homing of Animals Policy. This policy relates to requests to re-home animals if formal approval for re-homing has not already been granted as part of an approved protocol.

The Animal Welfare Officer is empowered to assess the suitability of animals for re-homing. Please contact the Animal Welfare Officer if you have animals that you would like to re-home, or if you are approached by people outside the University regarding the possibility of re-homing one or more of your animals. A Certificate of Transfer of Ownership form will need to be completed by the AWO, the relevant researcher and the recipient of the animal when an animal is re-homed.

Reporting requirements for unexpected deaths and adverse events

To ensure Macquarie University's procedures are in line with current requirements of Industry and Investment NSW and The Code the following policy must be followed.

The Animal Welfare Officer must be notified of any unexpected deaths or adverse events within 72 hours. The notification must be accompanied by the form "Reporting Form for Unexpected Adverse Event", which is available via the Forms for Research Applications (FoRA) System. The AWO will report such deaths or adverse events to the AEC at the next opportunity.

For the purposes of these reporting requirements an unexpected death is defined as any animal death that occurs prior to the approved experimental endpoint. Euthanasia carried out as a result of unforeseen complications or an adverse event is subject to the same reporting requirements.

Where an unexpected death of an animal occurs, the researcher must be able to demonstrate that an attempt was made to determine the cause of death. Unless the cause of death is obvious on preliminary observation (such as trauma) then a veterinarian experienced in the species should carry out such post mortems. For the purposes of Macquarie University's AEC preliminary observation includes gross inspection of body cavities conducted by the researcher or another experienced Macquarie University staff member.

Please contact the relevant Facility Manager or the Animal Welfare Officer (animal.ethics@mq.edu.au) for advice regarding post mortem requirements and assistance with organising the appropriate veterinary or pathology services.

Requests for extension of protocols

Extensions of this kind can only be granted if there has been unavoidable and unforeseeable interruption to the progress of the research (i.e. the time extension is essentially a replacement of lost time). Each request for an extension will be judged on its own merit.

The extension request must be submitted on the Forms for Research Applications (FoRA) System and must be received in time for review by the AEC before expiry of the final approval period, or a new application must be submitted.

Monitoring and inspection of animals and animal facilities

The Animal Ethics Committee or an officer designated by that Committee may inspect any animal facility at any time by prior arrangement with the Principal Investigator. At all times, inspections may be made by the University's Animal Welfare Officer for whom no prior arrangement is necessary.

The AEC conducts a site inspection of animal facilities on campus twice annually. Researchers and facility managers may be contacted in advance regarding the timing of inspections. It is recommended that researchers make themselves available to the Committee during the inspections so that they may discuss their work with the Committee.

The approval number for a protocol must be displayed prominently on each cage/aviary/area in which animals are held and on the appropriate notice board within the facility containing these animals. A valid (signed and current) Animal Research Authority (ARA) must be displayed where appropriate.

External agencies

Check the following important sites for essential information on legislation, guidelines and policies:

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