Routine husbandry procedures

The scientific use code defines routine husbandry as practices or procedures performed in relation to the care and management of animals with the primary purpose of maintaining their health and wellbeing and include, but limited to, the following:

  • vaccinations
  • mulesing and tail docking lambs
  • branding cattle
  • castrating lambs and calves
  • beak trimming of poultry
  • ear tattooing of pigs.

The animal ethics committee (AEC) must approve all 'routine husbandry practices/procedures' for animals being used for scientific purposes. AEC approval can be provided through either of 2 processes:

  • Approval of a specific practice/procedure as part of an AEC proposal (application) for a particular activity. This is the recommended process when the procedure is performed for a scientific purpose (e.g. castrating sheep as part of a teaching activity).
  • or
  • Approval of written practices/procedures for the management of holding and breeding facilities. This is the recommended process for routine husbandry procedures that are for the maintenance of breeding stock and supply of animals, and not specific to a particular project.

Routine husbandry procedures may also be approved by the AEC as standard operating procedures (SOPs) that are later referred to in proposals or facility procedures. SOPs can be referred to providing that:

  • new SOPs must be approved by the AEC before implementation
  • SOPs must include in the title, the date on which they were last approved or reviewed and be reviewed regularly by the AEC at least every 3 years
  • AEC members must have ready access to copies of all current SOPs
  • investigators, teachers or animal care staff named in a proposal or facility procedures must be competent in the procedure, perform it competently and follow the SOP
  • if variations to a SOP are required, it must be detailed in the proposal or facility procedures, and must be approved by the AEC before implementation.

Performing 'routine husbandry practices/procedures' at schools or tertiary institutions

AEC approval is required when routine procedures are taught or performed at schools and tertiary institutions such as agricultural colleges.

While educational institutions may run properties on a commercial basis, the primary purpose of having and using the animals is to acquire, demonstrate or develop knowledge or techniques in scientific disciplines such as agricultural, veterinary or biological science.