One of the touchstone principles in Australia’s regulation of the use of animals for scientific and educational purposes is reduction, refinement and replacement (3Rs). However, the use of animals for scientific and educational purposes is increasing in Australia, raising concerns about the effectiveness of the current regulatory framework in achieving the objectives of the 3Rs. This article critically evaluates the current regulatory framework in Australia. Several strengths are identified. However, 4 recommendations to improve the regulatory environment are proposed to bring Australia in line with international best practice. Specifically, Australian regulation governing the use of animals for scientific or educational purposes could be improved through greater transparency, higher standards of competency, the development of a central regulatory authority, and greater incentives to encourage research and development into nonanimal alternatives.
This article challenges the conventional wisdom that Australian consumers who are concerned about the care and treatment of farm animals are able to reflect these values through their purchasing behaviour. This is due to interference by market, political and social considerations that disrupt the transmission of animal welfare values into purchasing behaviour. For this reason, the regulation of farm animal welfare cannot be left to the market-based approach. Instead, government regulatory intervention is required in accordance with public interest theories of regulation.