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Animal Ethics Committee

Student in front of Clocktower

Purpose

All University of Otago staff and students are required to obtain permission from a University of Otago Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) to undertake manipulations on animals for research and teaching (the University of Otago does not permit or conduct animal testing).

The primary function of the AEC is to review Animal Use Protocols (AUPs) submitted by Principal Investigators, to ensure compliance with the Animal Welfare Act (1999) and the University's Code of Ethical Conduct. This ensures very high ethical standards for the use of animals at the University of Otago.

Among other things, researchers are required to minimise the ethical cost of animal use by applying the three Rs:

  1. Replace the use of animals with alternative techniques or avoid the use of animals.
  2. Reduce the number of animals to a minimum required to achieve the scientific requirements.
  3. Refine the way experiments are carried out to reduce animal suffering and enhance animal welfare.

All students intending to use animals must read the University of Otago Code of Ethical Conduct for the Use of Animals. The Principal Investigator for all AUPs submitted to the Animal Ethics Committee for student use, must be a University of Otago staff member.

University of Otago Code of Ethical Conduct for the Use of Animals

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Terms of Reference

The key functions of the AEC are as follows:

  • to ensure that the highest ethical standards are observed by all persons associated with it, in relation to the manipulation and use of animals.
  • to ensure compliance with the Animal Welfare Act 1999, including the Animal Welfare Amendment Act No. 2 (2015), by all persons named on approved AEC protocols.
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Committee composition and membership

The University has an Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) on each of its three campuses (Christchurch, Dunedin & Wellington). The members of the AEC include academics representing the scientific disciplines using animals, as well as lay members who are not involved in research, representing the wider community. This composition provides an understanding of what constitutes high quality research, excellent animal welfare, and the values of the public.

Each committee has: a senior academic representing the Code Holder (Vice-Chancellor); a number of research scientists representing the life sciences; three external members nominated by the NZ Vet Association, an approved animal welfare organisation (such as RNZSPCA) and the local Regional Council; up to 8 additional members appointed by the Code Holder.

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Relevant legislation and links to relevant national bodies

Research at the University of Otago complies with all legislation applicable to animal welfare. This includes, but is not restricted to:

  • The Animal Welfare Act 1991
  • The Agricultural Compounds & Veterinary Medicines Act 1997
  • The Hazardous Substances & New Organisms Act 1996

Animal use and welfare is strictly monitored by several national bodies including:

Training

The University has an extensive training programme for researchers applying to use animals in research and teaching. This includes modules on applicable legislation, handling and restraint techniques, drug administration and surgical procedures.

Please visit the website of the Animal Welfare Office for further information.

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Applying for ethical approval

In accordance with the Animal Welfare Act 1999, including the Animal Welfare Amendment Act No. 2 (2015), Animal Use Protocols (AUPs) must be submitted for the following:

  1. The manipulation of live animals in RTT
  2. The killing of animals for their tissue
  3. The breeding or production of animals for RTT that may result in the birth or production of animals that are more susceptible to, or at greater risk of, pain or distress during its life.

The AEC is responsible for the review of monitoring of animal welfare during protocol procedures, and end of project reports.

The AEC reviews and comments on other business related to animal use for RTT at the University of Otago.

Furthermore, all modifications to existing AUPs, including changes to animal numbers, changes to manipulations, and the addition of personnel, require approval from the AEC.

If the changes involve a major departure from the approved AUP, a significant increase in numbers, or a change in impact grade, a new AUP should be submitted.

General enquiries should be directed to the relevant Secretary of the Animal Ethics Committee (see below). Applications should be submitted using IARMS, by the last day of the month, for consideration at the next AEC meeting.

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Forms

Applications for approval of Animal Use Protocols are made via the Integrated Animal Research Management System (IARMS).

Only Animal Use Protocols (AUPs) submitted via IARMS are accepted.

New users please use the IARMS New User Application Form to request access to IARMS.

Once completed, it should be sent to iarms.admin@otago.ac.nz.

Modifications to existing AUPs (approved pre-January 2018) must also be via IARMS.

Training courses for using the online IARMS application system are available from ITS. Contextual help is embedded in the online form.

Download/view the manual for further reference.

Upon AUP expiry/closure, you will receive a notification to complete a Project Evaluation Form and Animal Statistics Form. Once completed, these will need to be attached to the relevant AUP in IARMS. Guidlines for completing the animal statistics form can be found on the MPI website.

Modifying an existing AUP

ITS Training for IARMS

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The approval process and notification of the review outcome

Following Committee review, the applicant will be advised of the outcome via IARMS, normally within 7-10 days of the meeting. Applicants can contact the AEC Secretary after the meeting for further information about the status of their application.

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Committee application deadlines and meeting dates

Compliance Reviewers must be given several days to review the applications. Suggested deadlines for compliance review

Applications (either new or modifications) must be submitted to the AEC admin review by this date having first completed compliance review if required. Compliance review must be declared in section 15.1.

Deadline for signed applications AEC Meeting Dates
18 January 2019 25 January 2019 31 January 2019 13 February 2019
15 February 2019 22 February 2019 28 February 2019 13 March 2019
19 March 2019 25 March 2019 29 March 2019 10 April 2019
17 April 2019 24 April 2019 30 April 2019 8 May 2019
21 May 2019 27 May 2019 31 May 2019 12 June 2019
18 June 2019 24 June 2019 28 June 2019 10 July 2019
18 July 2019 25 July 2019 31 July 2019 14 August 2019
20 August 2019 26 August 2019 30 August 2019 11 September 2019
17 September 2019 24 September 2019 30 September 2019 9 October 2019
18 October 2019 25 October 2019 31 October 2019 13 November 2019
19 November 2019 25 November 2019 29 November 2019 11 December 2019

Following Committee review, the applicant will be advised of the outcome via IARMS, normally within 7-10 days of the meeting.

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Contacts

AEC key contact personnel

Dunedin

AEC Secretary - IARMS System
Tel +64 3 479 6537
Email AEC@otago.ac.nz

Christchurch

AEC Christchurch Secretary
Tel +64 3 378 6260
Email uocaec@otago.ac.nz

Wellington

Compliance Officer and AEC Secretary
University of Otago, Wellington
Tel +64 4 385 5410

Other Useful Contacts

To discuss animal welfare issues and experimental design relevant to your AEC application, please contact:
The Animal Welfare Office

Other information

The University has AEC equivalence; a protocol approved by any local Otago University AEC gives approval for animal use at all three Schools, subject to local arrangements with the Animal Facility Manager.

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