All research and education activities involving live non-human vertebrates and cephalopods in New South Wales are controlled by legislation that aims to ensure that projects are conducted ethically and with full regard to the welfare of animals. The Department of Planning and Environment (the department) Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) is responsible for reviewing, approving and monitoring all animal research and teaching activities undertaken by department staff.
The Animal Ethics Committee oversees a range of projects that involve the capture and handling of wildlife (native and introduced) as well as projects that use observational techniques (such as bird surveys, spotlighting or remotely operated cameras). The overarching purpose of departmental animal research is to improve knowledge and management of native and introduced fauna in the landscape of New South Wales.
Each Animal Ethics Committee member is required to assess project applications by balancing the potential benefits to humans, animals or the environment with the potential impact on the wellbeing of the animals involved. The department is not involved in medical or agricultural research involving animals.
Selection criteria for membership
The Animal Ethics Committee is made up of four categories of membership with expertise in veterinary medicine, wildlife research, animal welfare and lay members who represent the views of the broader community.
Membership criteria for each category are set down in Section 2.2.4 of the Code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes (NHMRC 2013).
The criteria for a veterinary member (known as category A member) is:
A person with qualifications in veterinary science that are recognised for registration as a veterinary surgeon in Australia, and with experience relevant to the institution's activities or ability to acquire relevant knowledge.
Meeting schedule and workload
The department's Animal Ethics Committee meets at least 8 times each year on a Tuesday. Meeting begun at 10:00 am and typically conclude by 3:00 pm. Currently, all meetings are held online via Teams. When held in person, meetings are usually held at the government offices in Paramatta or, on occasion, at other locations. Members should be available to attend most of the scheduled meetings each year.
Members are expected to fully familiarise themselves with all project applications and other reading material before each meeting.
Occasionally, Animal Ethics Committee business may need to be addressed outside of scheduled meetings, so an email response or telephone conference may be required at short notice.
Travel to inspect research sites and animal holding facilities throughout New South Wales is sometimes offered.
Appointments to the department's Animal Ethics Committee are made by the Deputy-Secretary, Biodiversity, Conservation and Science.
Appointment to the Animal Ethics Committee will be for a 3-year term from 15 August 2022 to 15 August 2025. A second 3-year term may be offered.
Expression of Interest
A written expression of interest is invited from suitably qualified persons. The expression of interest must demonstrate how the above criteria are met and provide a short curriculum vitae.
The expression of interest must specifically:
- explain why you are interested in serving on the Animal Ethics Committee
- provide evidence of qualifications in veterinary science that are recognised for registration as a veterinary surgeon in Australia
- demonstrate experience in wildlife veterinary medicine and research (i.e. experience relevant to this department's activities), or your ability to acquire relevant knowledge.
Expressions of interest will be accepted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org until 5:00 pm on Wednesday, 13 July 2022.