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

Blood collection

1. Introduction

The following information has been compiled to assist Animal Ethics Committees (AECs) which consider applications to conduct research that involves the collection of blood from animals and to assist animal researchers who collect blood from animals.

The information has been formulated partly from a survey of AECs conducted by the Animal Research Review Panel (ARRP) in 1996. The survey on blood collection focussed principally on guidelines on blood collection used by AECs.

2. General Principles

The Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes states:

1.18 Investigators and teachers who use animals for scientific purposes must employ the best available scientific and educational techniques and be competent in the procedures they perform or must be under the direct supervision of a person competent in the procedure.

1.19 Projects should be designed to avoid both pain and distress in animals.  If this is not possible, pain or distress must be minimised.

In other words it should be ensured that the procedures used for blood collection minimise the impact on animals used.

3. Application Assessment

In considering an application which involves blood collection the following are specific matters that should be detailed by the applicant and considered by the AEC (in addition to matters as detailed in the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes and the ARRP Guideline 12 Animal Research Application Form (Model)):

3.1 The volume of blood to be collected

3.2 The frequency of blood collection

3.3 The period over which blood will be collected

3.4 The route by which blood will be collected

3.5 The technique by which blood will be collected (eg acute venipuncture vs chronic indwelling intravenous catheter)

3.6 The method by which the animal will be restrained for blood collection

3.7 The use of anaesthesia and / or analgesia

3.8 The methods of animal monitoring and frequency with which these methods will be implemented.

3.9 The experience of the operator relevant to the species of animal to be used and the blood collection procedures to be undertaken.

Where the volumes of blood to be collected or the frequency of collection exceeds recommendations in standard references (as listed below), then it is the responsibility of the operator to provide justification for this to the AEC and to provide detailed information on the impact on the animals and the measures in place to monitor the animals.

4. References

The following is a list of references on blood collection which may assist Animal Ethics Committees in assessing, and animal researchers in preparing, applications involving blood collection.


Animal Welfare Advisory Committee- New Zealand Ministry for Agriculture (1996) Guidelines for the Welfare of Livestock from which Blood is Harvested for Commercial and Research Purposes www.biosecurity.govt.nz/animal-welfare/codes/blood/index.htm

Available from: Ministry for Agriculture, PO Box 2562, Wellington, New Zealand.

Laboratory Animals

Diehl KH, Hull R, Morton D et al (2001). A good practice guide to the administration of substances and removal of blood, including routes and volumes. Journal of Applied Toxicology 21: 15-23

Hem A, Smith AJ and Solberg P (1998) Saphenous vein puncture for blood sampling of the mouse, rat, hamster, gerbil, guineapig, ferret and mink Laboratory Animals 32: 364 - 368


See also www.uib.no/vivariet/mou_blood/Blood_coll_mice_.html

McGill MW and Rowan AN (1989) Biological Effects of Blood Loss: Implications for Sampling Volumes and Techniques ILAR News 31 No 4: 5 - 18

Morton DB, Abbot D, Barclay R et al (1993/1994) Removal of blood from laboratory mammals and birds - First report of the BVA/FRAME/RSPCA/UFAW Joint Working Group on Refinement Laboratory Animals 27: 1 - 22; 28: 178 - 179


Refinement of blood sampling techniques (1998) - papers from Laboratory Animals 32(4)


Animal Reserch Review Panel Guideline 15