The Guidelines to promote the wellbeing of animals used for scientific purposes: The assessment and alleviation of pain and distress in research animals (2008) provide guidance on how to support and safeguard the wellbeing of animals used for scientific purposes.
Notice: This publication is more than five years old and may no longer reflect current evidence or best practice. 

Publication Data

Reference number
1 864 96360
More than five years old

These guidelines have been developed by NHMRC on advice from its Animal Welfare Committee to promote the wellbeing of animals used for scientific purposes and aim to minimise their experience of pain and distress. They advocate the consideration of an animal's "whole of life" experiences, argue the potential risk to the reliability/validity of research data from unintended pain or distress, and promote the 3R's (replacement of animal research with other types of research when possible, reduction of the number of animals used in research and refinement of research techniques to minimise pain and distress).

These guidelines should be read in conjunction with the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th edition (2013).


Table H1 Methods of humane killing and euthanasia in rats and mice, (page H4) was updated as of 20 August 2008. All copies of the guidelines downloaded prior to this date can be updated by downloading the replacement page.