Standard Operating Procedures

The DPIPWE AEC may approve Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) submitted by investigators for use in animal research projects. Please note that it is entirely optional for investigators to submit SOPs for approval by the AEC. It may assist your research to have SOPs which are approved by the AEC, however SOPs are not applicable to all forms of animal research. Researchers may also find that their research methods are constantly being updated and improved and in these cases it does not make sense logistically to submit SOPs for AEC approval.

There is a template available on the AEC website for researchers to use when preparing SOPs. Use of the template is not a requirement - it is intended to assist researchers who do not have a SOP template of their own. If you elect to use your own SOP template please refer to the checklist below in order to ensure you have covered everything in your SOP.

  AEC SOP Template   (64Kb)

​All SOPs approved by the DPIPWE AEC are only approved with respect to their use in projects or research activities that are approved by the AEC in accordance with the requirements of the Tasmanian Animal Welfare Act 1993 (the Act).

The approval of an SOP:

  • Is not a determination with respect to whether activities undertaken using the SOP constitute 'Animal Research' within the meaning of the Act;
  • Is not a determination with respect to whether activities undertaken using the SOP constitute 'normal animal management operations' within the meaning of the Act; and
  • Does not exempt any person from any legal requirement or obligation that applies, or may apply, to that person under the Act, and does not authorise the person to engage in any activity that is prohibited by that Act.

SOP Checklist:

  • Title of the SOP eg. Procedure for trapping and handling wild frogs – 2014;
  • Purpose of the SOP ie. A description of the procedures to be outlined in the SOP and the reason for preparing the SOP, such as documented preferred methods of handling animals, etc.;
  • Species of animals covered by the SOP;
  • Equipment/materials to be used for the described procedures;
  • Outline of procedures. If there are multiple procedures described in this SOP, please include sections that can be referred to (eg Section 2.1: Transportation of species x);
  • Training/experience/qualifications required to undertake the procedures;
  • Data management ie how data obtained from following the procedures will be recorded, stored and distributed; and
  • List of attachments.

​Things to consider when outlining a procedure:

  • How the animal is caught;
  • How the animal is restrained;
  • How the animal is monitored during a procedure including frequency of observation;
  • The period of time the animal is restrained for;
  • The duration of each procedure;
  • Biosecurity;
  • Any determinants of procedural success;
  • Any other protective measures undertaken to safeguard the animal's wellbeing; and
  • Name of any pharmacological agent(s)
    • Route of administration
    • Dose rate (mg/kg)
    • Duration of effect
    • Frequency of administration
    • Any further potential risks to the animal from this procedure
    • Strategies to mitigate these risks

Code Reference:

The Code provides for the submission and approval of SOPs as outlined in sections 2.2.33 to 2.2.36:

2.2.33 Institutions, in consultation with the AEC, may allow the AEC to consider and approve standard operating procedures (SOPs) relating to the care and use of animals.  A SOP must only be referenced in an application under the following conditions:

  1. the SOP must have current approval from the AEC;
  2. the SOP must include in its title the date of approval or last review by the AEC;
  3. investigators named in the application must be competent to implement the SOP; and
  4. any variation to a SOP must be described in the application and should be considered as a prompt for review of the SOP.
2.2.34 New SOPs must not be used until approved by the AEC and may be included with an application for consideration by the AEC.

2.2.35 If an AEC-approved SOP is not reviewed by the AEC within three years of its approval, approval for the SOP lapses, and the SOP cannot be used (as an AEC-approved SOP)

2.2.36 Approved SOPs must be made available to all relevant people, including AEC members.

Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 8th Edition 2013 (the Code)​​​


AEC Executive Officer
GPO Box 44
1 Franklin Wharf
Hobart TAS 7001
Phone: 03 6165 3144

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