Chuditch. Photo by Georgina Anderson/DBCA
Chuditch. Photo by Georgina Anderson/DBCA

The care and use of animals in Western Australia is subject to provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2002 (the Act) which provides for the welfare, safety and health of animals used for scientific purposes. An important part of the Act is the requirement of scientific institutions to be licensed and to operate according to the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes (the Code). This is to ensure the ethical and humane care and use of animals for scientific purposes.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) operates as a scientific institution in accordance with the conditions of its corporate Licence to use animals for scientific purposes, administered by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

DBCA Animal Ethics Committee

The department has operated an Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) since 1990. The role of the AEC is to ensure that all staff involved in the use of animals for scientific purposes act in an ethical and humane manner in accordance with the Code.

The Code defines areas of responsibility and sets out the principles that guide activities to ensure standards are met. A key component of any institutional process is the establishment of an AEC which determines whether the proposed use of animals is justified according to the principles of the Code. The AEC is also responsible for monitoring the ongoing scientific activities.

The Code requires that the membership of the DBCA AEC must include wildlife veterinarians, scientists, animal welfare advocates and members of the community to ensure appropriate and representative oversight of our activities. See terms of reference (available for download below) for more information about the committee’s roles and responsibilities.

Standard Operating Procedures

The department has developed several standard operating procedures (SOPs) for common fauna survey and monitoring activities to assist staff in preparing their applications and to ensure projects follow AEC endorsed guidelines. The SOPs are also used by the AEC to efficiently assess proposed projects to ensure that activities involving fauna are undertaken to a consistent standard. The SOPs have been written for scientific and education purposes, however, may also be appropriate for other situations.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the DBCA AEC, please contact us on animalethics@dbca.wa.gov.au.

Page reviewed 02 Nov 2020