The information provided here aims to facilitate smooth assessment of the application by the Australian Antarctic Program Animal Ethics Committee (AAPAEC). Consider the following points when completing an application.
- Write the application in plain English.
- Note the breeding status of the population and reference this in the application.
- Ensure that samples sizes are the minimum needed to provide statistical validity.
- Incorporate possible seasonal effects on the study population.
- In accordance with the general principle of reducing stress to wildlife, applicants are encouraged, as far as possible, to use populations which are in the vicinity of stations or field bases and which have some familiarity with humans.
Specifically, animal ethics applications must contain:
- a plain English summary providing an overview of the project and the reasons for the research
- full details of animal usage
- a step-by-step description of how all procedures are conducted including expected effects
- the qualifications and experience of proposed field personnel relevant to the tasks to be undertaken
- identification of any risks associated with procedures to animals and humans
- details of the monitoring of animals during capture, handling and release.
Importantly, and in line with the Code, the AAPAEC will seek evidence in applications of attempts by researchers to reduce the number of animals to be used in the project; to replace animal experimentation with alternative methods; and to refine field practices in order to minimise pain and distress on animals through the encouragement of safer and less stressful techniques and procedures to be used with Antarctic species. Researchers should balance the pain and distress to which animals may be subjected against the scientific benefit resulting from the investigation.
Researchers are also reminded that the information provided by them will also be used to frame the necessary permits required under Commonwealth legislation. Accordingly, incorrect, insufficient or ambiguous information could lead to errors occurring in the permit process and this could result in breach of the legislation occurring once the project is underway.