Animal care and use standards
Standards to guide best practice on the care and use of animals for scientific purposes
The Animal Care and Use Standards have been developed to provide:
- Clear direction on best practice to University of Melbourne animal users and carers, as well as to animal ethics and welfare committees, on the care and use of animals for scientific purposes.
- Consistency in animal care and use procedures/protocols across the University.
These standards have been developed by the University of Melbourne Animal Care and Use Standards Committee (ACUSC) in response to the current and emerging needs of the research community as well as advances in laboratory animal care. The ACUSC is responsible for identifying, developing and revising the standards. This is achieved by a consultative process that involves input from researchers, teachers, animal carers, animal welfare officers (AWOs), animal ethics committees (AECs), the Animal Ethics and Welfare Committee (AWEC), the Office of Research Ethics and Integrity (OREI) and appropriate experts.
The ACUSC Terms of Reference define the structure and purpose of the University of Melbourne Animal Care and Use Standards Committee.
The Animal Care and Use Standards Business Process Flow Diagram Illustrates the business process for development of an animal care and use standard.
Standards for consultation
The following Standards are now open for university-wide consultation:
Performing Necropsies - new draft Standard
Surgery and Aseptic Technique (previously known as Surgery and Aseptic Technique of Mice and Rats) - revised Standard (date of review: 31 December 2018)
Consultation for these Standards will be open for four weeks, closing on Friday 6 September 2019. Please provide all feedback using the Consultation Feedback Form.
The following Standards are now available:
Date of publication
|Administration of substances by oral gavage in mice and rats||11 January 2016|
|Analgesia||5 August 2016|
|Antibiotics||28 April 2017|
|Blood collection in mice and rats||5 August 2016|
|Breeding of new mouse strains||11 January 2016|
|General anaesthesia of mice and rats||12 April 2016|
|Handling and restraint of mice and rats||28 April 2017|
|Humane killing of mice and rats||12 April 2016|
|Humane killing of reptiles||5 August 2016|
|Infection of mice with influenza virus||5 August 2016|
|Laboratory animal health monitoring: Mouse sentinel programs||12 April 2016|
|Monitoring of animals - post-issue to the investigator||12 April 2016|
|Monitoring mice post-irradiation||12 April 2016|
|Streptozotocin use in mice and rats||12 April 2016|
|Surgery and aseptic technique of mice and rats||11 January 2016|
|Training in non-surgical procedures||12 April 2016|
|Working with fish||26 March 2019|
|Working with reptiles||26 March 2019|
- What does this mean for new applications and amendments?
All animal ethics applications which propose to perform procedures covered by a Standard, must comply with that Standard from its date of publication.
There is no mandatory requirement to update active, approved projects to comply with newly published standards. Work on these projects is allowed to be conducted as per their original conditions of approval, until the project’s date of expiry. The exceptions to this rule being:
- Where an application to amend an active, approved project is submitted, an AEC may take the opportunity to request that the protocols be updated to comply with a published standard.
- Where AWEC, an AEC or an AWO determine that adherence to an unstandardised protocol poses an animal welfare risk, compliance to a published standard may be enforced.
- How do I use the Standards when preparing my application/amendment?
In preparing an animal ethics application or amendment, you should make reference to all applicable Standards and also provide any details specific to your application, such as dose, frequency and total number of times the procedure will be performed. For example:
“Using a clean 22 gauge flexible plastic gavage tube, mice will be administered 100 ul of a 50 mg/ml solution of drug A, once daily for seven days. Mice will be monitored closely for 15 minutes following the procedure, and again 4 and 24 hours after the procedure. The oral gavage procedure and post procedure monitoring will be conducted in accordance with the University’s "Administration of substances by oral gavage in mice and rats" Animal Care and Use Standard.
Note that statements such as “Oral gavage will be performed as described in the Standard” without project-specific details, are not acceptable.
The Standard should not be provided as an attachment to an application.
- What if my research is contraindicated by the Standards?
Where there is strong scientific justification, exemptions to standards may be considered by the AEC. Where an exemption to a whole or part of a standard is sought, you must clearly request the exemption, detail how the proposed protocol deviates from the standard, and provide scientific justification for the need to deviate.