Topics > Plants & animals > Animals in research & teaching

Animal welfare research and teaching licences

Research or teaching using animals can only be performed if genuine valid outcomes are being sought. If you intend to use animals for research or teaching you must be licensed to do so by the Minister.

Every licence to use animals for teaching or research stipulates that the project must be approved by an Animal Ethics Committee. In addition to obtaining a licence, you must submit a written proposal to the Animal Ethics Committee nominated on your licence for consideration.

The committee can reject, amend or approve any proposal; it can request reports and observe any research at any time.

The committee takes into account the expected value of the knowledge to be gained, the justification for the project and all ethical and animal welfare aspects of the work. They are guided in these decisions by the principles of the 3Rs - replacement, reduction and refinement, as outlined in the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th edition (2013) (the Code).

In South Australia compliance with the Code is a condition of licence issued pursuant to the Animal Welfare Act 1985. Failure to comply with the requirements of the Code is a breach of licence conditions. If the breach results in an animal suffering, the offender may be prosecuted for ill treatment under the Act. The Minister may also revoke a licence if its conditions are breached.

An application for a licence must be lodged with the DEW Animal Welfare Unit at least 28 days prior to the proposed start date. Fees are applicable.

For practical information, including who to contact and how to go about applying for a licence, see Applying for an Animal Welfare Research and Teaching Licence.