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Activities requiring approval from an animal ethics committee

Whether a particular activity in Queensland requires animal ethics committee (AEC) approval to comply with the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (ACPA) depends on whether or not the activity meets the following 3 criteria:

  • it involves a legally defined 'animal'
  • it includes 'use' of the animal
  • the use is specifically 'for a scientific purpose'

In deciding whether to apply for AEC approval, consideration should be given to each criterion. If an activity meets all 3 criteria, AEC approval is required.

In addition to requirements under the ACPA, you may need AEC approval:

  • to comply with contract requirements of a funding body (e.g. the National Health and Medical Research Council)
  • to comply with the policies of your institution.

Researchers and teachers are advised to seek specific advice on a case-by-case basis from their AEC.

Any activity that requires AEC approval must also meet the registration and reporting requirements of the ACPA and comply with the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes (known as the scientific use code).

Activities that do not require AEC approval, registration or reporting under the ACPA include:

  • activities that do not involve animals as defined under the ACPA (e.g. use of bees or other insects for scientific research)
  • activities that involve 'animals' for a 'scientific purpose', but where the animals aren't actually 'used' (e.g. watching whales from the land)
  • activities that do not meet the definition of a scientific purpose (e.g. use of ponies at a pony club).

This guide outlines some activities that require approval from an AEC before work can commence.