Animal ethics

Animal ethics approval is required at Victoria University of Wellington for all research and teaching conducted with animals.

The University's Code of Ethical Conduct for the use of Animals for Research, Teaching and Testing is approved by the Ministry for Primary Industries. Research involving animal subjects requires approval in advance through the Animal Ethics Committee (AEC).

Victoria University of Wellington requires all researchers to consider the 3Rs:

  • Reduction—how the numbers of animals can be reduced to the minimum necessary.
  • Refinement—how methods can be refined to minimise impact and enhance animal welfare.
  • Replacement—how they can use alternatives wherever possible.

Research staff are required to understand and apply the Animal Welfare Act (1999) prior to their ethics applications.

Committee membership

The AEC is made up of staff from the University, nominated public lay members, nominated and appointed veterinarians, an animal welfare representative from the SPCA, and a student representative.

Committee members are appointed to ensure welfare, scientific, academic and regulatory standards are met in line with the Animal Welfare Act.


Victoria University of Wellington has an annual award that promotes the principles of replacement, reduction and refinement (the 3Rs) for animal welfare.

The award recognises significant innovative contributions that advance the 3Rs of animal research by individual researchers, teams or students at the University.

Openness agreement

The University was an inaugural signatory to the Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching’s Openness Agreement on Animal Research and Teaching in New Zealand.

Read our statement on use of animals in research and teaching.

Contact us

For enquiries related to animal research ethics and welfare, email the Committee.