A NSW Government website

NSW DPI Animal Ethics Committees

The use of animals for research and teaching purposes in NSW is governed by the Animal Research Act 1985 (the Act). Under the Act, organisations that employ researchers or teachers who use animals must be accredited. The Act is administered by the NSW DPI, including the provision of executive support to the Animal Research Review Panel, the statutory body established under the Act. For broader information about animal use in research and teaching in NSW, how it is regulated, and your obligations as an accredited establishment, please visit Animal Welfare and look for 'Animals in research and teaching'.

NSW DPI as an Accredited Animal Research Establishment

NSW DPI also conducts animal research and teaching activities, and as such it is an accredited Animal Research Establishment under the Act. DPI aims to ensure that thorough ethical consideration is given to how and why animals are used for our Department's research, teaching and extension activities, and that animals are treated humanely. DPI mandates that all research involving animals complies with the Act and subordinate legislation, as well as with the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 8th edition, 2013 (NHMRC) (the Code).

It is the responsibility of NSW DPI’s Animal Ethics Committees (AECs) to ensure, on behalf of the Department, that all care and use of animals for research, teaching and extension by the Department, is conducted in compliance with the Act and The Code. The role of the AEC is to ensure that the use of animals is justified, provides for the welfare of the animals and incorporates the principles of replacement, reduction and refinement (also known as 'the three R's'):

  • Replacement of the use of animals with other methods
  • Reduction in the number of animals used
  • Refinement of techniques used to reduce the impacts on animals.

Click to download the AEC Terms of Reference (PDF, 2260.73 KB)

Click to download the AEC Grievance Procedures (PDF, 87.52 KB)

All NSW DPI leaders of research or teaching projects that involve the use of live vertebrate animals must apply to one of NSW DPI’s AECs for review. This includes the use of animals in research, teaching, field trials, product testing, diagnosis, the production of biological products, environmental studies, and observational studies of wildlife.

Projects involving animals may only commence with approval in writing from the relevant AEC and once an Animal Research Authority (ARA) has been issued for the project. All persons involved in the procedures of an approved project must also be approved by the AEC.

Animal Ethics is supported by the Research Integrity & Data Team, within the Chief Scientists Branch. For more information about NSW DPI’s AECs please email dpi.chiefscientist@dpi.nsw.gov.au.

Information for internal and external researchers

Internal NSW DPI researchers

Staff access only

Please visit Animal Ethics Compliance and Support (DRNSW intranet) to access information about the internal DPI AEC’s.

External researchers requiring the Secretary’s Animal Care and Ethics Committee

NSW DPI also supports and administers the Department of Regional NSW Secretary’s Animal Care and Ethics Committee (ACEC).

The Secretary’s ACEC is responsible for:

  • considering applications for animal research authorities from individuals and accredited animal research establishments without their own AEC and for supervising animal supply for research by individual holders of animal supplier’s licences.
  • ensuring that all animal care and use for research and education by animal research authority holders and supply of animals by animal suppliers under its supervision comply with the Act and the Code.

Please visit the Secretary’s ACEC’s webpage for further information.

External organisations using the Fisheries ACEC, please visit Fishing, Animal Care and Ethics.