When should I seek approval from the Animal Ethics Committee?
1. Where the chief investigator is a La Trobe University staff member and the work is carried out at licensed La Trobe University facilities or in the field, including interstate or overseas:
- primary approval must be obtained from the La Trobe University AEC
- in the case of field work, the Fieldwork Notification Form must be completed
- relevant interstate and overseas permits and approvals must be obtained
2. Where the chief investigator is a La Trobe University staff member and the work is to be performed at another institution with a separate Scientific Procedures Premises License:
- primary approval must be obtained from the AEC named on the Scientific Procedures Premises License of that institution
- notification must be provided to La Trobe University AEC about the project, its location, and the extent of involvement of the La Trobe University staff member
- a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) should be signed by both parties before commencing research
3. Where the Chief Investigator originates from another establishment and wishes to use La Trobe University facilities in an experiment involving the scientific use of animals:
- primary approval must be obtained from the home AEC
- secondary approval must be obtained from the La Trobe University AEC
Primary approval includes submitting a completed application form to the relevant Animal Ethics Committee. Work may only commence once an approval letter has been obtained and, if necessary, secondary approval has been granted.
Secondary approval includes submitting a completed application form to the La Trobe University Animal Ethics Committee. Work may only commence once an approval letter has been obtained. The secondary approval pertains to work being conducted in La Trobe University facilities.
How are applications reviewed?
It is a requirement of the Code that applications must be discussed at quorate meetings. Chief investigators may be required to attend the meeting at which their application is discussed. This provides an opportunity to clarify aspects of the project that raised questions from committee members. In some circumstances, the discussion can be conducted via conference call.
The AEC has the option of one of four levels of response to applications:
- Project approved without modification.
- Project approved provided that specified, minor modifications are made in the application form.
- Project not yet approved and Chief Investigator invited to submit a modified proposal at the next available AEC meeting.
- Project not approved.
Applicants will receive notice of AEC decisions via email within six working days after an AEC meeting. No project must commence before a formal AEC approval letter has been received.
What are my requirements for observation fieldwork?
In instances where University personnel/students undertake activities involving animals, even ostensibly innocuous teaching exercises such as (fauna) spotlighting field trips, the Chief Investigator must have AEC approval, complete a Fieldwork Notification Form and provide copies of all relevant permits.
Standard Conditions of Approval
The following are the Standard Conditions of Approval for AEC projects. The AEC reserves the right to include special conditions to applications where necessary.
- The maximum period of AEC approval is for three years, after which a new application or variation must be submitted if work is to continue.
- Approval is subject to the availability of resources within LARTF to undertake the activities detailed in the application and ensuring that competency is assessed for all personnel associated with the project before any procedures are undertaken.
- If the work involves wildlife, the appropriate permits must be obtained prior to any work commencing where wildlife are involved. Copies of the relevant permits must be sent to the Senior Animal Ethics Officer.
- Compliance with all provisions of the “Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1986”, “Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes, 8th Edition, 2013” and La Trobe University Research and Graduate Studies Committee Guidelines and Policies.
- Where applicable, La Trobe University AEC approval is given on the condition that no work involving genetically modified organisms, including transport, is undertaken until LTIBC approval has been granted.
- Where applicable, La Trobe University AEC approval is given on the condition that no species are collected from the field or field work commences until all relevant permits are obtained from the appropriate state Government authority.
- Where applicable, ensuring that LARTF are provided with all relevant documentation relating to the AEC approved project prior to any work commencing on a new approved application or variation to an existing approved project.
- Immediate reporting to the AEC Chair and LARTF Senior Manager of any adverse event which impacts on the welfare of animals e.g. unexpected mortality, breach of protocol relating to animal use. This is to be followed by the submission of an animal incident report to the AEC and LARTF Senior Manager as soon as practicable after the incident.
- Advising the AEC by using a "Request for Minor Variation to Approved Project" form for:
- change in animal housing or research location
- absence or change of Chief Investigator and addition or removal of personnel
- change in Procedures
- change in animal numbers, strains, or species
- extension of project time
- Compliance with any special conditions requested by the AEC e.g.
- any special monitoring requirements
- provision of SOPs
- visit to site by AEC
- any special responsibilities of Animal Facility Staff required
- approval of Field Work Locations
- Submission of an Annual Report to the La Trobe University AEC by 12 February each year, and a final report within three months of completion of the project. Failure to submit these reports could result in future project/s not being approved until the report/s have been submitted and approved by the AEC.
- Annual Animal Use Returns must be submitted as requested by February each year.
- All projects may be monitored at any time by the La Trobe University Animal Ethics Committee.
- Review all relevant forms
- Fieldwork Notification Form - Animal Ethics Committee [DOCX 19KB] (to conduct fieldwork in Victoria outside La Trobe University licensed premises)
- Standard Operating Procedure Proforma - Animal Ethics committee [DOC 43KB]
- Pitfall Trapping Application Form [PDF 1.65MB]
Animal Ethics Committee Application Form PDF [23 KB]
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Minor Variations Form
Variations to AEC-approved projects can only be granted if the amendment is minor and there is no significant change to the direction of the study.
Variations may include (1) a change in animal numbers, (2) a minor change in procedures / techniques, (3) an addition / removal of investigators, or (4) an extension of the study duration (5) administrative changes.
The request to vary an approved animal ethics application can be made by the chief investigator in the form of an application to the Animal Ethics Committee (email@example.com).
Applicants must complete the AEC Request for Minor Variations Form [PDF 1.34MB] with precise details about the proposed changes to the approved application and reasoning as to why the variation is deemed necessary.
In addition, the application must have attached an electronic copy of the most recent version of the AEC-approved project application form with the proposed amendments included and highlighted or asterisked (**) at either end of the change.