The Academy has made a submission into the NSW Parliamentary inquiry into the use of primates and other animals in medical research.

The use of animals is crucial in many areas of health and medical research—including research undertaken in NSW—and has contributed to important advances in human and animal health.

This work is essential for scientists to better understand disease and to translate research into health advances, ultimately enabling the conquest of severe and potentially fatal diseases. This has been evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, where the rapid development of vaccines and drugs would not have been possible without initial testing in animals for efficacy, side effects and optimal dosing.

However, while recognising the critical nature of animal studies to these advances, the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences strongly supports and endorses the principle of the “3Rs” – to refine, reduce and replace the use of animals in research. This principle underpins the ethical, humane and responsible care and use of animals for research purposes in Australia and overseas.

Animal welfare is of the utmost importance in all instances in which animals are used for research purposes. Ethics approvals are crucial for ensuring that animals are used only where needed, that studies are appropriate designed and that the principle of the 3Rs is appropriately and properly considered. Research using animals must be done ethically, humanely and responsibly—and governments and the research community must be open about how animals are being used for such purposes.