Policy Directory


Date first approved:

12 March 2003

Date of effect:

Spring Session 2003

Date last amended:
(refer Version Control Table)

Date of Next Review:

June 2020

First Approved by:

Academic Senate

Custodian title & e-mail address:

Manager, Research Ethics and Integrity



University Animal Ethics Committee

Responsible Division & Unit:

Research Services Office,

Research and Innovation Division

Supporting documents, procedures & forms of this policy:

Code of Practice - Research
Research Misconduct and Complaints Management Policy

Relevant Legislation &

External Documents:

The Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research (2007)
Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (2013)

Animal Research Act 1985 (NSW)


Public – Accessible to anyone

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1 Purpose of Policy

  • 1. The University of Wollongong (the “University”) is committed to recognition of the diversity of values held by students at the University and seeks to provide avenues for students to complete their chosen field of study without compromising their ethical commitments.
  • 2. The University, through its Animal Ethics Committee, has a responsibility to ensure that animals are only used for teaching purposes when ethically justified and must therefore balance whether the potential effects on the wellbeing of the animals involved is justified by the potential benefits
  • 3. This policy provides a framework for recognition of and responses to students' ethical or religious objection to animal use in coursework subjects at the University.
  • 4. It should be noted that animals may only be used in teaching if approved in advance by the Animal Ethics Committee, and all such use must be in accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (2013) (‘the Code’) and the Animal Research Act, 1985 (NSW).
  • 5. It should also be noted that in some subjects and courses animal use may be unavoidable and students need to carefully consider their study choices in such cases.

2 Definitions


Definition (with examples if required)


Any live non-human vertebrate (that is fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals encompassing domestic animals, purpose-bread animals, livestock, wildlife) and cephalopods. (As per the Code)


Undergraduate coursework, honours projects, assessment tasks and other activities engaged in by undergraduate students primarily of an educational nature and forming a formal part of the program in which they are enrolled.

The Code

National Health and Medical Research Council Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (2013).

The University

University of Wollongong.

Use of Animals

This includes any use of animals (including animals killed for purposes not directly related to the proposed use in teaching), animal tissues or animal products.

3 Application & Scope

  • 1. This policy applies to the use of animals, animal tissues or animal products in undergraduate coursework subjects.
  • 2. This policy does not apply to the use of animals, animal tissues or animal products in post-graduate research or coursework, or as part of research-only activity; use of animals in these circumstances will require separate approval by the Animal Ethics Committee.
  • 3. Where animals, animal tissues or animal products are to be used in teaching, this will be made known in course descriptions available to students prior to enrolling. Students with conscientious objections to that use should carefully consider their options, before enrolling.
  • 4. Application of this policy does not extend to undergraduate activities that are not related to a subject or course in which the student is enrolled.

4 Policy Principles

  • 1. The University recognises that some students have conscientiously held ethical, religious or cultural values that entail avoidance of teaching or assessment activities involving animals, animal tissues or animal products.
  • 2. The University will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the values of those students referred to in clause 4.1 by providing alternative teaching and assessment activities where possible. In some circumstances such accommodation will not be possible.

5 Roles & Responsibilities

  • Responsibilities of Academic Units
  • 1. Academic units are advised that under the Code, there is an obligation to ensure that methods that replace or partially replace the use of animals must be investigated, considered and implemented where applicable.
  • 2. Academic Units in which teaching involving animals, animal tissues or animal products occurs will identify the use of animals, animal tissues or animal products in the Subject Outline. Where completion of a subject involving the use of animals, animal tissues or animal products is required to meet minimum course requirements the course handbook and other relevant course materials should state this.
  • 3. Academic units must make reasonable efforts to provide students or potential students with additional information upon request on matters relevant to their decision as to whether to proceed with a subject or course. Such information may include, for example, details regarding the source of animals, animal tissue or animal products.
  • 4. Academic units will advise students in writing in the Subject Outline of their rights to conscientiously object to teaching and assessment activities involving the use of animals, animal tissues or animal products, and the availability of alternative teaching and assessment activities, where possible. This advice will be included in student information and subject materials for all such subjects by the end of the first week of formal contact for each subject.
  • 5. Academic staff involved in teaching in relevant academic units may inquire into the basis for a student's objection and its scope, but should not interrogate the student in a manner that is disrespectful of the student's commitments.
  • 6. Where alternatives to teaching or assessment activity are provided by an academic unit, they should have similar pedagogic goals that meet the identified subject learning outcomes, be of comparable difficulty, and should require similar amount of time and effort, and be assessed as rigorously as the activity which they replace.
  • Responsibilities of Students
  • 7. Students who seek to avoid a particular learning activity on the basis of conscientious objection to the use of animals, animal tissues or animal products should notify the subject coordinator in writing as early as possible, not later than the end of Week 2 of the session.
  • 8. Students must agree to respond to reasonable requests from relevant academic staff regarding the basis of their objection and its scope.
  • 9. Individual cases will be referred to the Associate Dean (Education) for consideration.

6 Version Control and Change History

Version Control

Date Effective

Approved By



12 March 2003

Academic Senate

New Policy


6 May 2009

Vice-Principal (Administration)

Migrated to UOW Policy Template as per Policy Directory Refresh


9 March 2010

Vice-Principal (Administration)

Future review date identified in accordance with Standard on UOW Policy


16 June 2017

University Council

Migrated to UOW Policy Template, updated to incorporate religious objections and current Code provisions and review as per the AEC on 8 December 2016.

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