Animal Ethics Committee (AEC)

The Murdoch Institute's Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) is responsible for the consideration of projects under the following licences as issued by Animal Welfare Victoria: Murdoch Children's Research Institute and Royal Children's Hospital.al.

The Animal Ethics Committee is constituted by the MCRI Executive with the authority to approve and monitor all animal-based research at The Melbourne Children's Campus. The AEC is guided by the Terms of Reference provided by the MCRI Executive Committee, such Terms being supported by legislative requirements.

In Victoria, the use of animals for research and teaching is regulated by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTA) and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2019.

Under the POCTA, the conduct of Scientific Procedures using animals in Victoria must be licensed by the regulating authority, Animal Welfare Victoria - Agriculture Victoria, Dept Jobs Precincts & Regions, and within the parameters prescribed by the current Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes. An obligation to respect animals underpins the code.

The AEC supports opportunities that promote the development and use of techniques to replace the use of animals in scientific and teaching activities, and, encourages staff to look to the refinement of methods and procedures.

'Animal welfare' means how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives.

An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behaviour, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress.

Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling and humane slaughter/killing. Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal; the treatment that an animal receives is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment."

Source: OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health)