Policy Directory

ANIMAL HANDLING POLICY

Date approved:

June / July 2008

Date Policy will take effect:

On approval

Date of Next Review:

November

2012

Approved by:

Animal Ethics Committee
University Ethics Policy Committee

Custodian title & e-mail address:

Animal Ethics Officer
pennyp@uow.edu.au

Author:

Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) and Animal Ethics Officer

Responsible Faculty/
Division & Unit:

Ethics Officer, Research Services Office,
Research and Innovation Division (RaID)

Supporting documents, procedures & forms of this policy:

University documentation relating to this policy includes:

        • AEC Operating Procedures
        • Animal House Operating Procedures
        • AEC Standard Operating Procedures (Animal Handling)
        • AEC Certificate of Competency
        • Unexpected Death Report Form
        • Annual Review Report Form

References & Legislation:

NHMRC Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (7th Edition 2004)
Animal Research Act 1985 (NSW)
Animal Research Regulation 2010 (NSW)

Audience:

Internet – public access

Expiry Date of Policy (if applicable):

Not applicable

Contents

1 Purpose of Policy

  • 1. The purpose of this policy is to:
        • a. Ensure that injuries to and mortality rates of animals due to poor animal handling techniques are kept to an absolute minimum
        • b. Ensure that Standard Operating Procedures for animal handling are developed, approved and made available to researchers
        • c. Ensure that all researchers performing procedures in the Animal Holding Facilities are trained and competent in the handling of animals used in research.
        • d. Ensure that if researchers are not yet competent that they are supervised by someone who is experienced.

2 Definitions

Word/Term

Definition (with examples if required)

AEC

Animal Ethics Committee

PI

Principal Investigator

SOP

Standard Operating Procedure

3 Application & Scope - Exclusions or Special Conditions (if any)

  • 1. This policy applies to all UOW researchers using animals in their research, whether on or off campus. The NHMRC Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (7th Edition 2004) should also be taken into account.

4 Policy Principles (if relevant)

  • 1. The AEC is committed to ensuring that all research conducted at the University of Wollongong is fully compliant with the following legislation:
      • NHMRC Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (7th Edition 2004)
      • Animal Research Act 1985
      • NSW Animal Research Regulation 2005.
  • 2. All researchers undertaking animal research at the University of Wollongong must be certified as trained and competent in the procedures they will be performing by the Principal Investigator (PI) and the Animal Research Facilities Manager or delegate before they commence handling animals without supervision.
  • 3. Where appropriate, SOPs should be identified for all animal handling and monitoring procedures described in each AEC application. If no written procedures exist the PI is encouraged to develop them or to obtain them from researchers who are experienced in those procedures. SOPs should be attached to AEC applications where indicated.
  • 4. When a PI or other researcher has not been appropriately trained in a particular procedure, they must indicate how they will obtain the requisite training in the space provided in the AEC application. Training should be conducted according to an appropriate SOP. While undergoing training, inexperienced researchers should only perform procedures under supervision by a researcher experienced in the technique.
  • 5. If inexperienced researchers are observed performing procedures for which they have not been trained and certified, or which are not performed to an adequate standard of competence, the AEC Chair or delegate must be informed immediately. Adequate supervision must be instituted immediately, and steps taken to alleviate and prevent animal suffering. This may include the cessation of procedures. The PI and AEC Chair will devise steps to ensure future compliance with the Animal Handling Policy.
  • 6. The Animal Research Facilities Manager will only provide training in procedures for which s/he has appropriate training and experience.
  • 7. Researchers brought in from external institutions will need to be observed by the Animal Research Facilities Manager, Principal Investigator or other appropriate person to ensure that Animal Holding Facilities rules and procedures are being observed and that they are competent in all procedures they intend to perform.
  • 8. Certificates of Competency, signed by the researcher, the PI and the Animal Research Facilities Manager (or delegate) will be used to certify competency in identified SOPs. Copies of the certificates will be held in the relevant Animal Holding Facilities and the Research Services Office.
  • 9. SOPs will be made available on the intranet on the AEC website. In preparing their applications for AEC approval, researchers may cite the SOP names or numbers that are appropriate to their research, and do not need to detail the complete procedure. Any deviations from SOPs should be noted in AEC applications and in the relevant certificates of competency.

5 Roles & Responsibilities

  • 1. The AEC is responsible for reviewing all research applications involving the use of any vertebrate animals for research and teaching purposes. This includes responsibility for monitoring the acquisition, transport, housing, care, euthanasia and disposal of animals used for research and teaching purposes and therefore also for ensuring that researchers are trained and competent in the procedures they will be performing.
  • 2. The PI is responsible for ensuring that all researchers on the research protocol receive the proper training for the procedures they will be performing and that if they are not competent that they are supervised by someone who is competent. The PI, along with the Animal Research Facilities Manager or delegate, is responsible for certifying that researchers are trained and competent.
  • 3. The Animal Research Facilities Manager or delegate, along with the PI, is responsible for certifying that researchers are trained and competent.
  • 4. All researchers are responsible for ensuring that they receive the relevant training before handling or performing any procedure on any animal used in their research. If there are no experienced researchers at the University of Wollongong to provide training, external expertise should be sought. Researchers trialling new procedures may be required to conduct pilot studies, and to report results of these studies to the AEC, before continuing their work.

6 Version Control and Change History

Version Control

Date Effective

Approved By

Amendment

1

June / July 2008

AEC

As suggested by working party, AEC Chair and AEC members

2

April 2011

UEPC July 2011

Revised

3

January 2012

University Council

Migrated to UOW Policy Template for inclusion in the Policy Directory.

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