Animal experimentation is any action, demonstration, procedure, test, experiment, inquiry, investigation or study carried out on or in connection with an animal. In Australia, animals are used in biomedical research (including genetic engineering and physiological and psychological testing), medical and agricultural research, and for safety testing and education. The RSPCA states that in 2008, more than 1.2 million animals were used for teaching and research purposes in Victoria alone. Humane Research Australia believes that in 2013, approximately 6.7 million animals were used nation-wide.
All Australian states and territories have animal welfare laws, as well as requirements that animal experimentation is done in accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council’s ‘Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes’. The Code is reviewed by representatives of government, scientists and animal welfare organisations. The Code encourages the minimisation of animal use, and the use of non-animal research methods, including computer modelling, wherever possible. All efforts must be made prevent or remove the animals’ pain and suffering. But the RSPCA acknowledges that until alternative methodologies and techniques are developed for some kinds of research, the use of live animals will continue.