Application guidelines

The information on this page will help you with your ethics approval and clearance submission to the Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) Animal Ethics Committee (AEC).

Before you begin your application, you must be familiar with the following:

Criteria for seeking ethics approval

PIRSA personnel and collaborators must apply for animal ethics approval if their work includes animal interventions beyond routine animal husbandry procedures.

This includes:

  • student projects conducted in conjunction with PIRSA (your supervisor must be the applicant)
  • university candidates and PIRSA personnel working within other institutions (you must send your application to the PIRSA AEC and the AECs of all other relevant institutions)

If you meet the application criteria:

  • You must not hold or start any activities involving the use of animals before you have obtained approval from the relevant AEC(s).
  • In this context, use and holding includes:
    • the use or involvement of animals in research projects or experiments, irrespective of the site involved or the source of funding
    • holding, breeding or any other keeping of animals
    • fieldwork, including capture and release after marking.
  • Do not submit a full research and development proposal without approval from the PIRSA AEC. This also applies to commercially contracted research work.

Writing your proposal

Your written proposal should:

  • provide the PIRSA AEC with sufficient information justifying your proposed use of animals complies with the principles of replacement, reduction and refinement.
  • present information that is easily accessible for the AEC
  • be written in a manner that can be understood by all members of the AEC
  • identify the impacts on the animal and the means by which the impact will be minimised.

See the '3Rs' - replacement, reduction and refinement factsheet on the Department of Environment and Water (DEW) website.

Completing the application form

Your application for approval covers your whole project.

You do not need to submit separate applications for each experiment within the project.

However, your description of your proposed experiments should adequately cover all experiments you intend to conduct during the project.

Filling out your application form:

  • Complete all required fields.
  • Attach separate pages where necessary.
  • If your work is linked with an application for support by a funding body, please attach a copy of your project application.
  • Give the common name of animal species as well as the scientific name.
  • List all drugs you will administer, including dose and route:
    • use generic names at all times; brand names may be included
    • doses may be specified with an expected range (eg 2-8 mg/kg daily)
    • special diets, and dietary additives must be specified and quantified.

Collaborative projects

If your project involves collaboration with other institutions, you must seek approval from the animal ethics committee of each institute.

You may need to apply to each of the following:

  • your organisation's AEC (eg. PIRSA AEC)
  • the AEC of each organisation collaborating on the project
  • the institutional AEC of any teacher supervising a research student
  • the AEC with responsibility for the animal holding facility.

For example, PIRSA university degree candidates require ethical clearance by the PIRSA AEC as well as the university's animal ethics committee.

You can send each committee duplicates of the same application.


The project’s principal research officer or chief scientist:

  • is required to countersign the application form before you submit it to the PIRSA AEC
  • assumes responsibility for ensuring that procedures are carried out in accordance with final ethical approval.

The applicant:

Animal deaths

You must promptly report all unexpected animal deaths, or any adverse or unforeseen circumstances arising from approved projects to the Committee.


You must apply in writing to the PIRSA AEC for extension if:

  • an approved project will continue for a longer period of time
  • you require additional animals
  • an amendment to the protocol is proposed.

Apply for an amendment to an approved project with the AEC Common Form.

Committee process

  • Ensure you submit your application before submission dates.
  • The Committee only grant approvals at committee meetings.
  • No new application can be approved other than at a meeting of the Committee.
  • The Committee's executive may only approve minor modification to a project when the case is urgent.

Approval processes for new projects

No new research contracts involving the use or holding of animals should be signed without PIRSA AEC approval.

  • No AEC is required for preliminary research proposals.
  • AEC approval is required for research proposals submitted as full grant applications.
  • Once a research contract is signed, you must submit all subsequent research projects in full to the AEC for approval.

Annual and end of year reporting

If the PIRSA AEC has approved your project, you must provide an end of year report.

You must submit your report even if:

  • the AEC(s) approved your project towards the end of the year
  • you have not yet started work using animals.

The collated information is sent to the Minister responsible for animal welfare.

We encourage you to submit your report to the project funding bodies.

The PIRSA AEC would appreciate copies of your annual reports or final deliberations you send to your funding bodies.

Download these Common Forms below from the DEW website:

  • annual progress and final project reporting
  • minor amendment to approved project
  • adverse incident report.

Housing animals

AEC approval is required before allotting animal holding space or sourcing animals.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure adequate holding space is available for the animals.

Please note:

  • Some species of animal are more communal than others; isolation of such animals can cause them stress.
  • Our expectation is that you will not hold animals like sheep, deer and rats (for example) in individual pens or cages.
  • We recognise that there are circumstances in which individual housing is acceptable or preferable, and applicants need to provide justification for individual housing in their application.

Random inspections

The Committee may make random inspections of animal holding facilities, laboratories and experiments in order to determine compliance with the approval conditions.


If you have any questions about the PIRSA AEC please contact us:

Executive Officer
PIRSA Animal Ethics Committee

JS Davies Bldg.,
Roseworthy Campus
SA 5371

Ph: (08) 8313 7665
Fax: (08) 8313 7689

Page Last Reviewed: 01 Mar 2018
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