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This page outlines the CSIRO Animal Ethics Committee terms of reference and includes detail on governing principles and responsibilities.
The Australian Code for the care and use of Animals for Scientific Purposes 8th Edition 2013 (The Code) requires that: -
“Before appointment, all members of Animal Ethics Committees (AEC) should acknowledge in writing their acceptance of the terms of reference of the Committee and any requirements for confidentiality required by the institution.”
4. The AEC shall, on behalf of the institution, ensure that all activities relating to the care and use of animals are conducted in compliance with the Code.
5. The AEC will:
6. The AEC will provide competent, fair, consistent and timely review of applications and reports related to the care and use of animals.
7. The AEC will make a judgement on whether the proposed use, or continued use, of animals is ethically acceptable.
8. This judgement will:
9. The AEC will approve only those projects and activities that are ethically acceptable and conform to the requirements of The Code.
10.The AEC will consider and approve applications for new projects and activities, and the ongoing approval for existing projects and activities, only at quorate meetings of the AEC.
11. AEC members will be provided with meeting material with adequate time to prepare for meetings.
12. The AEC will base its decisions on the information it receives from the applicant in the documentation and in any direct discussions with the applicant, and may use information in addition to that obtained from the applicant.
13. The AEC may decide that:
14. Decisions will be based on a thorough, fair and inclusive process of discussion and deliberation by AEC members, and will be made only by those present throughout the discussion.
15. Decisions will be made on the basis of consensus. Where consensus cannot be reached after reasonable effort to resolve differences, the AEC will explore with the applicant(s) ways of modifying the project or activity that may lead to consensus. If consensus is still not achieved, the AEC will only proceed to a majority decision after members have been allowed a period of time to review their positions, followed by further discussion.
16. For decision making, members with a conflict of interest will withdraw from the meeting. Once such members have withdrawn, the remaining members will still constitute a quorum—that is, one member from each of the membership categories A, B, C and D, with Categories C and D together representing at least one-third of members present.
17. Decisions of the AEC will be made as promptly as possible.
18. Pilot studies, where proposed, will be regarded as integral to the overall project, especially to enable assessment of the feasibility of the project and the potential for refinement and reduction. They will be assessed by the AEC according to the criteria applied to project approval.
19. When considering approval for the reuse of animals, the AEC will take into account:
20. In determining the duration of approval for individual projects, the AEC will consider the number of years for which the project is funded, any milestones or stages outlined in the project, and any formal agreements between the institution and funding bodies.
21. The AEC will monitor the care and use of animals by inspecting animals, animal housing and the conduct of procedures, and/or reviewing records and reports.
22. The AEC will monitor all activities relating to the care and use of animals (including the acquisition, transport, breeding, housing and husbandry of animals) on a regular and ongoing basis to assess compliance with the Code and decisions of the AEC. The AEC will ensure that identified problems and issues receive appropriate follow-up and, if necessary, refer suspected breaches of the Code to the institution.
23. The AEC will monitor activities that are likely to cause pain or distress at an early phase during the conduct of the activity. This requirement will be a condition of approval for the project or activity. These activities could include the study of pain, responses to stressors, models of human and animal diseases, or attempts to change behaviour by physical or chemical means. This may be achieved by requesting the researcher to provide a report to the committee which must be endorsed prior to progressing with the research.
24. A Category C or D member of the AEC will participate in animal facility inspections.
25. The AEC will endeavour to have two inspections of animal facilities annually. Influencing factors on frequency include the number and accessibility of sites, the number and types of projects and activities, and whether inspections can be combined with scheduled AEC meetings. In addition, the AEC may decide that certain projects or activities require more frequent inspection than others. Inspections may be announced or unannounced.
26. The AEC will maintain records of inspections that include the names of attendees, observations, any identified problems, recommended actions, ongoing or outstanding issues, and outcomes.
27. The AEC will allow the delegation of authority to suitably qualified people to monitor animal care and use, including projects and activities conducted at remote sites (e.g. fieldwork). Reports of such monitoring may be provided to the AEC in written form and/or using still or video images.
28. The AEC will take appropriate action in response to unexpected adverse events to ensure that animal wellbeing is not compromised, the issue is addressed promptly, and activities that have the potential to adversely affect animal wellbeing cease immediately. Actions may include consulting with relevant people and, where necessary, suspending or withdrawing approval for the project or activity.
29. When projects or activities that are in breach of the Code are detected, the AEC will ensure that:
30. The AEC will consider approval of guidelines for the care and use of animals that are referred to it by the institution.
31. The AEC will provide advice and recommendations to the institution regarding the care and use of animals for scientific purposes conducted on behalf of the institution, and strategies required to ensure that the requirements of the Code are maintained and that matters affecting animal wellbeing are addressed.
32. The AEC will liaise with relevant operations managers to ensure best practise.
33. The AEC will submit a written report on its operations annually, to the General Manager – Science Government.
The report will advise on:
34. The AEC reports to the General Manager – Science Government
35. CSIRO will appoint a chairperson to the AEC. The chairperson may be appointed in addition to Category A to D members.
36. The AEC will comprise at least one person from each of four categories of membership:
37. The AEC may establish an AEC Executive which must include the chairperson and at least one member from Category C or D
38. The AEC Executive may be delegated to approve minor amendments to approved projects or activities, for ratification at the next AEC meeting. A minor amendment may include a change to an approved project or activity where the proposed change is not likely to cause harm to the animals, including pain and distress
39. The AEC Executive are not permitted to approve new applications.
40. A person responsible for routine care of animals within the institutions may be appointed to the AEC.
41. Additional members with skills and background of value to the AEC may be appointed to the AEC.
42. The AEC may invite people with specific expertise to provide advice, as required.
43. Categories C and D must together represent at least one-third of the AEC membership.
44. Procedures for the appointment, reappointment and retirement of AEC members:
Download a printable version of CSIRO Animal Ethics Committee Terms of Reference [docx · 1mb].
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Last updated: Last updated: 18 December 2015
Printed from: CSIRO Animal Ethics Committee Terms of Reference (http://csiroaucd1-cdc.it.csiro.au/en/About/Policies-guidelines/Integrity-of-science/Animal-Ethics-Committee-ToR)