Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Ethics and Australian mammalogy: reflections on 15 years (1991 - 2006) on an Animal Ethics Committee

Lunney, D. (2012) Ethics and Australian mammalogy: reflections on 15 years (1991 - 2006) on an Animal Ethics Committee. Australian Mammalogy, 34 (1). pp. 1-17.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


This essay on field mammalogy and research ethics presents my reflections on 15 years as a researcher sitting on an Animal Ethics Committee in New South Wales. It outlines the community debate on animal welfare and the ethics of research on animals, how government has responded, and how wildlife researchers can move forward in this arena. Three schools are identified within the animal protection movement: 'animal welfare' holds that it is legitimate to use animals as a resource, so long as that use is 'necessary' and the animal's suffering 'minimised'; 'animal liberationists' are likely to oppose most animal research; the 'animal rights' position is firmly abolitionist. The instruments that regulate research involving animals are examined, in particular the New South Wales Animal Research Act 1985, the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, and Animal Ethics Committees. Examples of ethical dilemmas involving both native and non-native animals are discussed. The debate over animals in research will continue, and it is clear that far more can be gained by engaging in the debate than avoiding it. It is in researchers' interests to publicly defend the essential role of science in conserving our native fauna, and to conduct our work within a well managed welfare framework.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Publisher: Australian Mammal Society Inc.
Copyright: © 2012 Australian Mammal Society
Item Control Page Item Control Page