Changes to Animal Welfare Licensing (Tas)

The Animal Welfare Act 1993 (Tas) was amended on 29 July 2008, to include Cephalopods under the definition of "animal" and to revise the meaning of "animal research", to which licensing applies.

What is a Licensed Institution?

It is important to note that animal research performed by a licensed institution is exempted from the Cruelty and Aggravated cruelty provisions of the Act, provided it has Animal Ethics Committee approval and is conducted in accordance with the Code of Practice.
An institution can be any entity that wishes to conduct research or teaching, for example a school, university, pharmaceutical company, ecological surveyor or private individual with a particular animal research interest.

To be licensed, the institution must agree to comply with the approved Code of Practice – currently the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes.

The Act provides that animal research (as defined below) can only be conducted by institutions licensed by the Minister for Primary Industries and Water. Research by unlicensed institutions (or researchers) is an offence for which substantial pecuniary and/or custodial penalties exist.

What is an animal?
All live, non-human vertebrates and cephalopods. ‘Animal’ includes juvenile forms

What is animal research?
Section 3 of the Animal Welfare Act 1993 (Tas) defines animal research as a procedure, test, experiment, inquiry or study on an animal which:
  • is undertaken to develop, demonstrate or acquire knowledge, or techniques, in an area of science or teaching; and
  • is likely to have a significant adverse effect on the welfare of the animal.
What is a significant adverse impact?
Anything that renders an animal either dead or less able to cope with its situation as evidenced by abnormal physiological or behavioural responses. The significance of the impact must be assessed in context taking the following into consideration:
  • the environment in which the animal is being held, used and released into,
  • the nature of the animal, and
  • the physical and psychological state of the animal.
Observational studies where the animals are not handled, tagged or otherwise interfered with or the animal’s immediate environment is not entered or disturbed by that activity would not generally be considered to have a significant adverse impact on the animals.

For more information, go to the DPIW website:

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