Animals used in research and for scientific use are governed by laws which oversee the use of animals in research, teaching and product testing in each Australian state. Although there is some variation in the statutory requirements of each state, the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes, sets out the common framework of guiding principles.
Animal Care Australia believes the current framework and guidelines is effective in supporting establishments, individuals, as well as re-homing facilities to re-home animals after their use in research.
Animal Care Australia makes the following recommendations and encourages the adoption of these recommendations throughout Australia.
- Animal Care Australia recommends researchers consider rehoming during the planning stages so that animal husbandry throughout the research project prepares animals in advance.
- When rehoming is a likely option then rehoming organisations such as animal keepers associations should be forewarned so they can prepare.
- It is acknowledged that some animals cannot be rehomed as pets however these animals may be better suited to be homed in an exhibition or display environment where they can live and be cared for ethically as well as providing an ongoing educational benefit.
- Animal Welfare Acts for exhibited animals provide the appropriate regulations to ensure their ongoing welfare needs are met. Animals used for exhibition and display play a pivotal role in education and creating awareness.
- Animal Care Australia would like to see requirements implemented to ensure the behaviour assessments are completed by individuals skilled with the understanding of and knowledge of the particular individual species of animals being assessed. Assurances need to be provided that the assessors have an intimate knowledge of the criteria used as part of the assessment process. This should include expert knowledge of individual species’ natural behaviour in all aspects, including breed specific behavioural traits of each species.
- Behaviour assessments that have been left to some rescue organisations, have to date utilised unrealistic “behaviour testing” methods which in themselves may cause psychological trauma ultimately resulting in the animals requiring to be euthanised. This must change through regulation
- Regulations that mandate appropriate mechanisms to ensure a blanket rehabilitation and behaviour assessment method for all re-homing organisations involved is introduced and assessed by the relevant state departments.
- Assessment methods that do not inflict psychological harm on the animals and the animals are evaluated according to their species and breed specific behaviour traits are a necessary requirement – which is NOT currently being met by all rescue organisations.
- Animal Care Australia recommends forms of positive reinforcement are adopted where animals are to be rehomed.
- Animal Care Australia strongly encourages all governments and research organisations to investigate and implement alternative methods of research so as to phase out all unnecessary use of animals.
- Animal Care Australia encourages government to review the use of animals in research, ensuring measures of accountability and appropriate transparency, as well increase funding to develop new technology that would no longer require the use of animals in research unless it can be demonstrated that the research will not harm the animal and will benefit research and the individual animals involved.
Animal Care Australia supports transparency and regulatory measures for institutions utilising animals in research and for scientific use