Animal Welfare and Ethics


Upcoming AEC meeting has been postponed.

Upcoming Animal Ethics Committee meeting has been pospone from 17 May to 7th June 2017

Submission deadline for animal ethics application 24 May 2017

Animal monitoring template

An animal monitoring template has been added to the 'All Forms and Documents' for use for procedures in research projects.

Read more announcements

Upcoming AEC meeting has been postponed.

Upcoming Animal Ethics Committee meeting has been pospone from 17 May to 7th June 2017

Submission deadline for animal ethics application 24 May 2017

Animal monitoring template

An animal monitoring template has been added to the 'All Forms and Documents' for use for procedures in research projects.

Charles Darwin University has a strong commitment to the welfare of animals.  Through our teaching and research profile, we contribute to furthering animal welfare, conservation and promoting a high quality of skills in those who plan to work with animals. 

Animal welfare and ethics at CDU is administered by the Animal Welfare Officer (AWO) and the Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) in accordance to the NT Animal Welfare Act and Regulations and the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes.

Report any animal welfare concerns to the Animal Welfare Officer

Please report any animal welfare concerns to the AWO. All information reported will be kept strictly confidential. 

Bringing Animals onto CDU Property

In order to ensure the welfare of animals as well as staff, students and visitors at CDU, it is compulsory to notify the AWO before bringing an animal onto a CDU campus.  The AWO will advise you whether any licenses, permits or approvals are required and ensure that there are adequate resources available to provide for the wellbeing of the animal.

All animals housed on CDU land being used for research and teaching must be approved by the CDU AEC, regardless of whether the project has already been approved by another institution's AEC.

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The CDU Animal Ethics Committee

The Charles Darwin University Animal Ethics Committee

CDU AEC operates in accordance with its Terms of Reference (PDF 80KB), Policies and Procedures, the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes and the NT Animal Welfare Act and Regulations, as well as other corresponding state, territory and federal legislation.

The AEC meets seven times every year, approximately every six weeks from mid-February to December.  The closing date for submissions is approximately two weeks prior to the meeting, and we commit to notifying investigators of meeting outcomes within seven days of the meeting date. 

The AEC can only approve new projects at a quorate meeting where at least one member of each Category is present.  On the rare occasion where a scheduled meeting is inquorate, an additional special meeting will be scheduled as soon as possible after the original.  We will advise affected Principal Investigators immediately if this occurs.

The CDU AEC consists of categories of members as prescribed in the Australian code for the care and use of animal for scientific purposes (8th Edition, 2013).

Australian code for the care and use of animal for scientific purposes

Category A

A person with qualifications in veterinary science and with experience relevant to the activities of the institution. Veterinarians who lack this experience must familiarise themselves with the biology and clinical characteristics of the species of animals used.

Category B

A suitably qualified person with substantial recent experience in the use of animals in scientific or teaching activities. This will usually entail possession of a higher degree in research.

Category C

A person with demonstrable commitment to, and established experience in, furthering the welfare of animals, who is not employed by or otherwise associated with the institution, and who is not involved in the care and use of animals for scientific purposes. Veterinarians with specific animal welfare interest and experience may meet the requirements of this category. While not representing an animal welfare organisation, the person should, where possible, be selected on the basis of active membership of, and nomination by, such an organisation.

Category D

A person who is both independent of the institution and who has never been involved in the use of animals in scientific or teaching activities, either in their employment or beyond their under-graduate education. Category D members should be viewed by the wider community as bringing a completely independent view to the AEC, and must not fit the requirements of any other category.

Animal Ethics Training

Animal ethics training is recommended for investigators and co-investigators, and the CDU AEC requires training to be undertaken every two years. It is preferable for the investigators to attend animal ethics training provided by CDU, however the AEC may accept equivalent interstate training. Proof of training attendance will be required when submitting a project and permit application.   

Training sessions are held approximately four times a year held at CDU's various campus locations, depending on the number of applicants. At least one training session will be held at the Katherine Rural Campus each year.

CDU does not provide skills competency training for specific procedures. However, the Animal Welfare Officer may provide training for the use of Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 drugs upon request.

For more information on the next training date, please contact the Animal Welfare Officer.

CDU Animal Ethics and Welfare Resources

Animal Ethics and Welfare resource webpage

This webpage links to current animal welfare standards, codes of practices, as well as veterinary resources.  

Also included in this site are Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) pre-approved by the AEC, which may be used as reference documents for AEC applications and reports.

All Forms and Documents

Application forms

Animal monitoring sheet

Reporting forms

Notification forms

Relevant permits

Application process

The application process

Animal ethics application process

What needs approval?

What needs approval?

All scientific activities involving animals must be approved by the AEC.



Animals are defined as any living non-human vertebrate animals (i.e. fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) and cephalopods. This includes adult animals as well as: 

  • mammal, reptile and bird embryos and foetuses that have progressed beyond half their gestation/incubation period
  • fish and amphibian larval stages once they become free-feeding.

Scientific purposes

Scientific purposes means all activities conducted with the aim of acquiring, developing or demonstrating knowledge or techniques in all areas of science, including teaching, field trials, environmental studies, research, diagnosis, product testing and the production of biological products.

Contact the AWO for further advice if your project includes:

  • genetically modified organisms
  • imported animals
  • interstate work
  • Overseas work
  • use of Schedule 4 and 8 drugs
Reporting requirements

Annual Project reporting

As part of ongoing project monitoring, investigators are required to submit an annual progress report to the AEC from the date of AEC project approval. Failure to submit a satisfactory report may result in the suspension of your project and its permits and cause a delay in your work.  

Upon completion of the project, investigators are required to submit a final report. This enables the AEC to ensure the project has complied with its animal ethics responsibilities as well as informs the AEC of any improved processes of dealing with animal research in the future.

It's the responsibility of principal investigators to ensure that progress and final reports are submitted on time. Failure to do so may result in the suspension of projects. As a courtesy, the animal ethics office will endeavour to send reminders at least two weeks prior to the meeting submission deadline that falls before the due date of the report, but the ultimate responsibility rest with principal investigators.

Project amendments

Any amendments to the project will require approval by the AEC. This includes changes to:

  • procedures
  • locations
  • timeframe
  • research personnel

Submission of the relevant project amendment application is required for these changes to be reviewed by the AEC; for changes in research personnel a project amendment application – change of personnel is to be completed. Submission can occur at anytime as depending on the nature of the change, may be reviewed out of session by the AEC executive. Work incorporating the requested changes must not commence until AEC approval has been granted

Unexpected adverse events

Unexpected adverse events are unforeseen adverse incidents occurring that are not part of the project plan and as such are not described in the project application.

Such events may happen even in well-planned and executed projects. When an unexpected adverse event occur, investigators must report the event to the AWO immediately.

You need to submit an unexpected adverse event report as soon as practical after the incident. This report should be as detailed as possible so that the information can be used to prevent or manage future events.

Please note: all documents are located in the All Forms and Documents section

AEC meeting dates 2017
Animal Ethics Committee Meeting Dates
Meeting No. Submission DeadlineMeeting Date
1/1716 January 01 February
2/1713 February01 March
3/1727 March12 April
4/1728 April
17 May
5/1703 July
19 July
6/1714 August
30 August
7/1718 September
04 October
8/1723 October08 November

Contact us


Animal Welfare Officer
Dr Joel Huang
T: 08 8946 6498  M: 0467 809 826
Chair CDU Animal Ethics Committee
Prof Keith Christian
T: 08 8946 6706

Ethics Support Officer
Mark Li
T: 08 8946 6063