Information and guidelines on managing projects that have been given approval to work with animals

Research Advantage

Managing approved projects

The Animal Ethics Unit provides researchers with various resources for managing projects that have received ethics approval.

Adverse events or unexpected effects during the conduct of a project

Guidelines for action

NSW legislation requires investigators to promptly notify the Animal Care and Ethics Committee (ACEC) of any adverse or unexpected effects that impact on animal well-being.

In addition when an animal dies unexpectedly or is euthanised due to unforeseen complications, an autopsy should be performed by a person with appropriate qualifications and/or experience and the ACEC should be notified promptly.

Please refer to the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th Edition (2013) on the NHMRC website for further information regarding the above.

Apart from being a legislative requirement, there are practical reasons for advising the ACEC of a problem that occurs during the conduct of a project. It allows the ACEC to assist with any investigation of the problem to ensure that it does not recur. It also serves to educate the ACEC of the potential complications associated with a procedure or study that it has approved.


To assist researchers in complying with this section of the legislation, the ACEC has developed the following resources:


Pain and Distress

The following resources provide assistance for recognising and assessing pain and distress in research animals:


Specific Techniques

Anaesthesia and analgesia


Blood collection


Transport and Acclimatisation

Experimental Neoplasia

Antibody Production - Monoclonal antibodies

Antibody Production - Polyclonal antibodies

Genetically modified animals

Wildlife research

Post-graduate surgical training


Use of Animals in Teaching Protocols

The use of animals in teaching protocols is governed by the NSW Animal Research Act and Animal Research Regulations.

The legislation directs that an ACEC may approve only those experiments for which animals are essential, taking into consideration ethical and welfare aspects as well as scientific and educational value.

In order to justify the continuing use of animals in a practical class, there must be an evaluation of the effectiveness of the use of animals in achieving the objectives of that class. While the lecturer responsible for the class may have different ways of evaluating the student's achievement of objectives, the ACEC recommends the use of a questionnaire.

To this end, the Committee has developed a pro forma:

ACEC Questionnaire for the evaluation of the use of animals in practical classes (DOC 34 KB)

The general and specific aims/objectives stated in the questionnaire should be the same as those outlined comprehensively in your application for ACEC approval.

Evaluation is mandatory for new practical classes. Once it has been established that the use of animals is justified, the evaluation may be performed periodically (e.g. for submission with each Annual Progress Report/Renewal Application).



Sharing of Animal Tissues

Sharing of animal tissues (PDF 24 KB)

The University of Newcastle ACEC regards the use of tissue from freshly euthanased animals by a researcher to be a reasonable mechanism for reducing the number of animals required for research and teaching purposes and, as such, this practice is highly encouraged by the ACEC.

Prior animal ethics approval is not required for this practice provided that:

  • The animal is killed as part of another legitimate authorised process (e.g. part of another currently approved protocol, in the abattoir, cull animals as part of normal animal husbandry procedures) AND
  • The animal is not bred specifically for the second researcher AND
  • The animal is killed ONLY by a person authorised to do so (e.g. under a current Animal Research Authority, because of the nature of their employment etc) AND
  • The researcher has no input into the treatment or handling of the animal prior to its euthanasia or death AND
  • The researcher has no input into the manner of euthanasia of the animal, or the timing of its euthanasia AND
  • The tissue is collected AFTER death of the animal is confirmed. The researcher may be present when the animal is killed and may remove tissues from the animal OR the animal tissue is removed by the person authorised to euthanase the animal and passed onto the researcher OR the whole animal carcass may be passed onto the researcher.


If you have any further questions relating to any of the above information regarding Managing Approved Projects, please contact an Animal Ethics Officer.