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Animal Ethics Infolink
A NSW Department of Primary Industries and Animal Research Review Panel initiative

Accredited Animal Research Establishment Support for Animal Ethics Committees

Animal Research Review Panel Policy 5A

Revised: 8 May 2014

In order to function effectively, an Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) must have a status within the Accredited Animal Research Establishment that recognises its central importance in ensuring compliance with the animal research legislation. To enable an AEC to carry out its responsibilities, it must receive adequate support from the Establishment.

The AEC should report through the Chair to the Chief Executive Officer of the Accredited Establishment (or delegated representative of the Chief Executive Officer) and when fulfilling its responsibilities should receive the full support of the Chief Executive Officer.

The Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes outlines the responsibilities of Establishments in supporting their AECs:

"2.1.6 Institutions must ensure and support the effective operation of the AEC by:

i. implementing policies and procedures so that the care and use of animals is ethically reviewed, approved and monitored by the AEC
ii. ensuring that the terms of reference of the AEC are publicly available
iii. providing mechanisms for prompt and effective response to recommendations from the AEC to ensure that the care and use of animals for scientific purposes within the institution complies with the Code
iv. addressing concerns raised by the AEC regarding non-compliance with the Code that may include disciplinary action upon the advice of the AEC
v. seeking advice from the AEC on all matters that may affect the welfare of animals used for scientific purposes by the institution, including the building or modification of animal facilities or areas adjacent to animal facilities."

"2.2.1 Institutions that establish an AEC must:

i. ensure that the AEC membership will allow the committee to meet its responsibilities. Membership must comprise at least four people, one from each of four categories of membership (see Clause 2.2.4)
ii. ensure that the AEC has terms of reference that are publicly available
iii. provide the AEC with the resources required to carry out its responsibilities, and to maintain the AEC
iv. establish procedures for the effective governance and operation of the AEC that will enable the AEC to meet its responsibilities under the Code and relevant institutional policies, and promote competent and timely ethical review of animal care and use
v. conduct an annual review of the operation of the AEC."

"2.2.19 The institution must provide the AEC with the resources required to carry out its responsibilities (see Chapter 2.3) and to maintain the AEC, and respond effectively to recommendations from the AEC regarding resources and workloads. Resources should include:

i. staffing and administrative assistance, and financial resources
ii. orientation and education of AEC members
iii. where appropriate, the reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses and/or payment of an allowance to AEC members."