Animals have played a major role in developing our knowledge of human and veterinary medicine, as well as knowledge of the world and space around us. They have also been essential to commercial research.
Animal research can generally be defined as an activity that subjects animals to any form of procedure, test, experiment or treatment for the purposes of inquiry or study.
Animal welfare in the area of research and teaching is of international concern. Differing cultural values, attitudes and legal systems result in varying approaches to the use of animals in research.
The welfare of animals in the research and teaching sector is highly regulated. Compliance with the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes has been a requirement in all jurisdictions since 1969. This has ensured that welfare outcomes for animals in this sector have been reasonably consistent.
The Animals in Research and Teaching Working Group was responsible for developing and implementing action plans to meet challenges to the sustainable improvement welfare outcomes for animals used for research and teaching purposes.
The challenges to improving the welfare of animals in research and teaching include:
- the need for Australian participation in international coordination and alignment of guidelines for the use animals in research in accordance with humane practices
- the need for relevant measures or indicators of existing or future animal welfare outcomes that close the gap resulting from different legislative and enforcement processes that apply across jurisdictions
- the need for dedicated funding devoted to regular revision of the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes, as well as to encourage ownership of the revision process in the code by researchers and teachers