Animal Welfare and Ethics

In undertaking the use of animals for scientific animals, James Cook University (JCU) abides by the animal research and teaching legislation in each jurisdiction as well as the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (the Code).

The Code is published after extensive public consultation by the National Health and Medical Research Council and is prepared by a working committee comprising representatives of stakeholders including animal welfare organisations.

‘The Code applies throughout the animal’s involvement in activities and projects, including acquisition, transport, breeding, housing, husbandry, the use of the animal in a project, and the provisions for the animal at the completion of their use.’

Mandatory Animal Ethics Training

It will soon become compulsory for all JCU animal users to complete the free, core online training, before staff and students are able to begin using animals. Please visit JCU AEC Training to access the training modules.

Animal Ethics Committee Meeting Dates 2023

Please note that AEC meeting dates may change depending on availability of AEC members. We will do our best to notify applicants when this occurs.

AEC Meeting Date

(First Tuesday of the month)

Closing Date to Ethics Office

(2 weeks before the meeting)

Deadline to Ethics Monitor

(1 week before meeting deadline)

7 February 2023

7 March 2023

4 April 2023

2 May 2023

6 June 2023

4 July 2023

1 August 2023

5 September 2023

3 October 2023

7 November 2023

5 December 2023

23 January 2023

20 February 2023

20 March 2023

17 April 2023

22 May 2023

19 June 2023

17 July 2023

21 August 2023

18 September 2023

23 October 2023

20 November 2023

16 January 2023

13 February 2023

13 March 2023

10 April 2023

15 May 2023

12 June 2023

10 July 2023

14 August 2023

11 September 2023

16 October 2023

13 November 2023

In undertaking the use of animals for scientific animals, James Cook University (JCU) abides by the animal research and teaching legislation in each jurisdiction as well as the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (the Code).

A requirement of the Code is that all activities involving animals for scientific purposes are subject to ethical review and oversight by an Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) and carried out according to the Code’s governing principles where ‘respect for animals must underpin all decisions and actions involving care and use of animals for scientific purposes’ and where the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement) are applied at all stages.

In order to ensure compliance with the Code, as required by the Code, JCU undertakes an external review of our operations that relate to the care and use of animals. For more information on this independent external review, and a summary of the findings of our latest review can be found on the independent external review page.

JCU also conducts an internal annual review of its operations and compliance with the Code, and reports back to the University based on this review.

If you have any questions about the care and use of animals at JCU, feel free to contact our Ethics Team.

Animal Ethics Committee Chair

Professor Lin Schwarzkopf
College of Science and Engineering
James Cook University
Phone: (07) 4781 5467

Concerns, complaints and feedback about the treatment of animals at JCU are taken seriously and will be thoroughly investigated with action taken if proven.

If you have an enquiry, concern or complaint about any of the following, you may contact the Animal Welfare Officer directly for confidential advice, discuss the concern or lodge a complaint.

  • An animal being held on the property of the University or an external property or field work site.
  • The activities or behaviour of a researcher, teacher or other staff member.
  • The activities of a person or group that may affect or interfere with animal welfare, health or the progress of a research or teaching project.

All concerns and complaints will be followed up promptly and confidentially, although at times, there might be a need to identify the complainant for procedural fairness.

The Animal Welfare Officer and AEC follow the University’s investigation and complaint procedures to ensure all parties are heard and the matter is dealt with effectively. Anonymous complaints will also be investigated, however, the ability to investigate thoroughly may be affected by not being able to clarify certain facts with the original complainant.

If you receive a complaint about your work with animals, please refer it to the JCU Connect Animal Welfare and Ethics team to ensure the complaint is dealt with and to prevent unnecessary escalation.

Contact the Research and Innovation Services Animal Welfare and Ethics team

Call the Animal Ethics Officer on x14484 or email

(Please use the above contact details rather than the 'Submit and Enquiry' button below in order to get a more prompt reply)

Visit the Research and Innovation Services Ethics team on level 3 in The Science Place (Townsville).