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A duty of care - animals used in research

23 July 2003

A duty of care

Care of animals used in research, testing, or teaching goes way beyond meeting their basic needs, says Wyn Hoadley, Chairperson of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) in the 2002 Annual Report released today.

Mrs Hoadley was highlighting two publications produced by the committee to assist scientists, teachers and technicians in ensuring the welfare of animals in their care.

The guide – A Culture of Care – explores the notion of a ‘duty of care’ which Mrs Hoadley says requires a genuine commitment to the welfare of animals, a respect for the contribution they make to the work of scientists, researchers, and teachers, and a commitment to their wellbeing beyond the minimum standard.

“The concept is based on the universally accepted principles of replacement, reduction and refinement (the three Rs) which are the cornerstone of modern research and teaching practice involving animals.”

“It is the responsibility of the researcher to anticipate any potentially adverse effects of their work with animals and take all steps to avoid or minimise pain and distress,” she says.

The committee has also produced the Good Practice Guide for the Use of Animals in Research, Testing and Teaching which encompasses all aspects of care and use of animals for scientific purposes in medicine, biology, agriculture, veterinary and other animal sciences, industry and teaching. The guide supports the general procedures outlined in the Guide on Codes of Ethical Conduct.

NAEAC also hosted a series of workshops and meetings with various Animal Ethics Committees around the country to assist members in undertaking their responsibilities under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

Mrs Hoadley said these meetings are invaluable for gaining a sense of how the Animal Welfare Act is being implemented in the area of animal research, testing and teaching, and also provides an important feedback mechanism in how NAEAC can fully support Animal Ethics Committees.

A copy of the report is available at:


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