Issues Magazine

Articles about research ethics

Animal Ethics Committees: Gatekeepers of Animal Research

 Source: (CC by 2.0)

Macaque monkeys used for research in an animal testing laboratory. Monkeys are socially housed and have play toys for environmental enrichment. Source: (CC by 2.0)

By Lynette Chave and Peter Johnson

Animal ethics committees are a way for the community to participate in decision-making about the care and use of animals in research.

What types of activity come to mind at the mention of animal research? Many people might think of monkeys with skull implants, dogs undergoing surgery or rabbits having substances put in their eyes. In reality, the scope of what constitutes “animal research”, and the laws that govern this in Australia, are much broader, and the typical images much rarer.