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Using animals for disease surveillance

Disease surveillance activities where the procedures are being done for the health of the individual or specific herd do not require animal ethics committee (AEC) approval. Examples include routine commercial disease surveillance, such as monitoring dairy or cattle herd health, veterinary care for pets, and examining injured or orphaned wildlife.

However, structured disease surveillance activities where the procedures are designed to provide knowledge in a scientific discipline such as biosecurity science do require AEC approval. Examples include:

  • use of sentinel animals in the National Arbovirus Monitoring Program (NAMP)
  • capture and sampling wildlife (e.g. bats) to detect or characterise emerging infectious diseases
  • modifying routine disease surveillance programs to enable research to clarify changes in the nature of a disease
  • use of unrelated animals to provide further knowledge or research support for a disease or animal welfare investigation (e.g. use of mice in in-vitro tests to determine if cattle feed contains toxins like botulinum toxin).