All research conducted on Taronga Conservation Society Australia’s collection animals or by the Society’s staff has undergone review and assessment by Taronga’s Animal Ethics Committee (AEC). This committee consists of at least one member of category A (veterinarian), category B (research scientist), category C (animal welfare advocate with no other association with the Zoo) and category D (independent lay person), and is governed by the regulations set out in policy 4.5 TCSA AEC Terms of Reference attached as appendix AEC31.
This committee is constituted in accordance with the Animal Research Act 1985 and the Animal Research Regulation 2005, which incorporated the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes into the legislation as set out in policy 4.1 TCSA AEC Procedures as appendix AEC32.
In brief, the constitution and procedure of ethics committees are outlined in the Animal Research Regulation 2005 - schedule 2. It is the responsibility of the AEC under the Act to protect the welfare of animals by ensuring that their use in research is always humane, considerate, responsible and justified.
The Committee issues "Authorities" for researchers to conduct research, after assessing that their research is in keeping with policies of the TCSA of NSW and that the individuals using animals for research and teaching comply with:
- encompasses all aspects of the care and use of, or interaction with, animals for scientific purposes in medicine, biology, agriculture, veterinary and other animal sciences, industry and teaching. It includes their use in research, teaching, field trials, product testing, diagnosis, the production of biological products and environmental studies.
- provides general principles for the care and use of animals, specifies the responsibilities of investigators and institutions, and details the terms of reference, membership and operation of institutional AECs (the TCSA AEC’s Terms of Reference are detailed in a separate policy, SR&WC 4.5). It also provides guidelines for the humane conduct of scientific and teaching activities, and for the acquisition of animals and their care, including their environmental needs.
- covers all live non-human vertebrates. Eggs, foetuses and embryos must be treated in a humane manner where development of an integrated nervous system is evident. Investigators should consider forwarding proposals to use higher order invertebrates to AECs.
All applications, procedures and information for applicants applying for approval to perform research with collection animals or by TCSA staff are covered by policies that can be downloaded below. Projects taking place over a period longer than one year require renewal on an annual basis - see Renewal Application Form below. Upon completion of the approved project, a final report must be completed as per policy Final Report.