Animal ethics and welfare

Respect for animals underpins all decisions and actions involving the care and use of animals at RMIT University.

Respect for animals underpins all decisions and actions involving the care and use of animals at RMIT University. Rigorous review by the RMIT Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) ensures that animals are only used when justified, the wellbeing of animals is supported, any harm is minimized, and the highest standards of animal welfare and scientific integrity are applied.

RMIT University supports the application of the 3R principles to all animal use in research or teaching activities:

  • Replace: methods that allow the purpose of a research activity or project to be achieved without the use of animals.
  • Reduce: methods for obtaining the same information from the use of fewer animals or for obtaining more information from the same number of animals.
  • Refine: methods that reduce or minimise potential pain and distress, and enhance animal wellbeing.

Research and teaching using animals carried out at RMIT is compliant with the Victorian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, the associated Regulations (2008), and the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (2013) (the ‘Animal Code’) and the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018. RMIT also has an established AEC which is comprised and functions in keeping with the Animal Code.

This Framework requires researchers to gain and maintain animal ethics approval from the AEC for any activities involving animals. This includes all research, teaching and breeding activities which take place in a laboratory setting, or in the field.

RMIT also provides education and training on animal ethics and welfare to researchers who engage in animal research, with further information available on the Researcher Portal.

Further information

If you would like to know more about how RMIT supports animal ethics and welfare, please contact our Research Ethics and Integrity team at:

For RMIT staff and students, you can find detailed information and resources on gaining and maintaining animal ethics approval, ensuring animal welfare, as well links to related training and support, in the RMIT Researcher Portal.    

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer