Animal Importation Service

Reasons for importation of animals and genetic material

Importation of animals is an alternative to the need to develop a laboratory animal strain de novo. The expense involved in setting up a unit for animal breeding, embryology, and molecular biology can be somewhat restrictive for some investigative groups. Researchers can instead identify useful animal models in journal articles, from conference presentations and by word-of-mouth then import these animals directly into Australia. This practice has proven cost-effective for numerous investigators.

Regulatory restriction

The reworking of Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) regulations for importation of laboratory rats has simplified the process of importation. AQIS requires that mice are free from clinical or other evidence of rabies, ectromelia (mouse pox) and hantaviruses and the colony has been tested for hantaviruses within the last 6 months. If the donor colony complies with this there is no need for post export quarantine testing.

Importation service

The Animal Resources Centre offers a comprehensive animal importation service. Each customer’s needs are determined and every importation protocol is customised to meet these specific requirements. A case specific cost estimate is prepared and itemised invoicing allows customers to trace expenses. Invoicing is sequential as each facet of the protocol is completed. The range of services offered includes:
  • Preparation of documentation for importation
  • Negotiation and liaison between customer and supplier
  • Organisation of freight provision
  • Organisation of customs/AQIS clearance at the Australian entry port.
  • Caesarean re-derivation of imported strains if this is necessary
  • Breeding strains to homozygosity
  • Serological testing to clear quarantine if required
  • Preparation of documentation to facilitate release of progeny from quarantine facilities
  • Microbiological characterisation of progeny
  • SPF barrier colony maintenance and animal supply

Embryo transfer re-derivation

All importations which will ultimately be bred at the Animal Resources Centre for supply undergo re-derivation by embryo transfer. This provides the only means by which the Animal Resources Centre has control over the microbiologic quality of animals released from quarantine. Moreover, the process of re-derivation of progeny utilising flexible film isolator technology facilitates quarantine clearance resulting in early researcher access to high quality animals.