This document provides principles and best practice guidance for the care and use of non-human primates for scientific purposes. The document is intended for use by those involved in the care and use of non-human primates for scientific purposes, including institutional animal ethics committees, investigators and animal carers.
Under the provision of its Funding Agreement, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) requires all those in receipt of NHMRC funds who are involved with the care and use of non-human primates to comply with these guidelines.
Development of the Guidelines
The Principles and guidelines for the care and use of non-human primates for scientific purposes (the Guidelines) is a revision of NHMRC's Policy on the care and use of non-human primates for scientific purposes 2003 (the 2003 Policy). The revision of the 2003 Policy was overseen by NHMRC's Animal Welfare Committee with advice from a working committee, established under Section 39 of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992. Membership of the working committee included representatives from the Animal Welfare Committee, veterinarians, members with expertise in the ethical review of the care and use of non-human primates, animal welfare representatives, members with an understanding of community attitudes to the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, and representatives from the national non-human primate colonies to provide relevant species-specific advice.
Public consultation on the draft Guidelines was conducted from 27 March 2015 to 8 May 2015. Feedback that was within the scope of the public consultation informed the development of the final document. Where permission has been granted, submissions received during public consultation have been published on NHMRC's Public Consultation website.
The major differences between the 2003 Policy and the Guidelines include:
- Updating to accord with current best practice and to ensure consistency with the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 2013.1
- Restructuring to provide clearer guidance on the principles for the care and use of non-human primates (Part A) and guidelines on the care of non-human primates (Part B).
- Amendments to the requirements for notification to, or approval from, NHMRC's Animal Welfare Committee (AWC) to reflect the strong regulatory framework that currently exists in Australia.
- Updating of the checklist to assist institutional animal ethics committees (AECs) in assessing applications.
- Inclusion of a checklist for use by AECs when inspecting facilities where non-human primates are housed and used, and a flowchart of checkpoints in the supply of non-human primates.
- Clarification and strengthening of the strict limitations with respect to great apes:
- The Guidelines now specifically state that great apes must not be imported for scientific purposes.
- The Guidelines state that the use of great apes is permitted only when their use will not have any appreciable negative impact on the animals involved, and will potentially benefit the individual animal and/or their species. The 2003 Policy allowed the use of great apes if potential benefits of the scientific knowledge gained will outweigh harm to the animal.
- Clarification of requirements related to the importation of non-human primates.
- Inclusion of a definition of captive-bred non-human primates in relation to sourcing and supply.
For further information, contact NHMRC at email@example.com