The Centre for Animal Research and Teaching

Introduction

The UNE is uniquely placed to undertake animal research and teaching activities. In addition to the off-campus SMART farms which have excellent facilities for grazing sheep, cattle and feedlot cattle, the UNE houses a unique complex of facilities known as the Centre for Animal Research and Teaching.

The Centre is comprised of a significant number of state of the art integrated animal housing and handling facilities with allied laboratories dedicated to research and teaching. These are located within the CART precinct on the main UNE campus as well as on two of the UNE SMART Farms, and they are supported by a team of skilled technical staff. Animals that can be accommodated include cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, laboratory animals, pigs, wildlife and dogs. All animal research conducted within the CART is overseen by the UNE Animal Ethics Committee and the animals and facilities are regularly monitored to ensure welfare standards are maintained at the highest possible level.

The research facilities include a fully equipped feed mill, surgery, recovery room, post-mortem room, climate controlled rooms, laboratories, sample preparation areas, freezers, cool rooms, office space, student breakout area and tea room. In addition, specialised equipment such as a CT scanner, scanning electron microscopes, blood/gas analyser and net energy chambers are available within the precinct. As such, the Centre is able to support a wide variety of research interests with a current emphasis on animal production, welfare, nutrition, parasitology, biomedical research and specific diseases of livestock and poultry.

These state of the art facilities - most of which are new or have been recently upgraded – are summarised below.

Facilities

Large Animal Facility (W070)

This facility was constructed in 2012 and can house up to 50 cattle in individual pens indoors, with up to another 40 held in group pens outside. In addition there are 10 large respiration chambers to measure gas exchange, including methane or ammonia production. The facility includes two research laboratories and a feed storage area. All animals can be handled within the shed as there are raceways, a large cattle crush, weigh bars and a large loading ramp. The facility has access via a lane way to 4 paddocks that can hold up to 10 animals and also provide access to the Trevenna paddocks and UNE SMART farms.

Offices and Imaging Facility (W071)

This building commissioned in 2014 contains the CART staff offices and shared office space available for researchers. The building has an entry foyer where all visitors must sign in and a meeting room which is used for inductions, training and pre-commencement meetings to discuss experiments with researchers. W071 houses the school’s visualisation laboratory which has a new scanning electron microscope, a bench top SEM, a 3D camera and computer, XRF spectrometer, XRD, a critical point dryer, carbon and sputter coater, a blood gas analyser and facilities to prepare the samples. Also part of the facility is a CT scanner and control room, sheep holding yards for animals to be scanned, a cold room for meat samples and a store room.

Feed Mill (W072)

This new facility commissioned in 2015 houses a large feed mill that can mix and pellet special diets at a rate of up to 3 tons/hour with or without steam pelleting. There is also a 500kg mixer, a 300kg mixer, a small mill that can pellet at 100Kg/hour and a large roller mill. The facility has a preparation room and two 8 ton external silos with internal delivery for bulk grain storage and handling. Within the mill room there is pallet racking that will hold up to 20 pallets and equipment for bagging special diets. Delivery of goods is via the road that runs between W070 and W002; goods can be unloaded or delivered with a forklift that can access all areas of the CART precinct. There is a dedicated shed (W010A) for storage of bulk feed ingredients and prepared diets and a cool storage facility.

Student Breakout Areas, Toilet and Change Rooms (W073) 

This is a comfortable new area that staff and students can access to have meals or to have a break and relax during intensive sampling programs. There are male and female toilets and change rooms and showers along with a toilet and shower for anyone with a disability. There is a laundry with a washing machine and dryer and 48 individual lockers for storage of work clothes and PPE.

Sheep Holding Facility (W012)

This large slatted floor facility can hold up to 250 sheep, goats or calves for research and teaching in individual pens along with 8 large group pens. A large rodent proof feed store (accessible by forklift) and extensive preparation area complete the inside of this facility. Outside there is a loading ramp and set of handling yards for sorting and holding animals. These yards are also connected to W074 (multi-function animal facility) and via a race to W02B.

Small Animal Holding and Poultry Rooms (W002A)

This building is an older style building (scheduled for a mixture of renovation and refurbishment in 2020) which accommodates intensive chicken experiments, sheep metabolic studies and the rodent (mice and rats) colony. There are 4 rooms of different sizes with heating and ventilation that are mainly used with floor pens for broiler studies. There are 8 climate controlled rooms (all with a temperature range of 10-50c and 4 with additional humidity control) allowing experimental control and replication of commercial practices over all studies being carried out. The rooms can be set up with cameras for remote viewing in animal welfare related experiments. This building also houses 24 highly sophisticated poultry calorimeters for net energy studies.

Teaching, Post-mortem and Surgical area (W002B)

This state of the art facility commissioned in 2015 has a 60 student teaching wet laboratory with wall mounted TV monitors, a preparation room, a 6 table post-mortem area, a fully functioning veterinary surgery (with viewing window) which allows recovery surgery to be performed and a 12 pen recovery area, walk in freezer and cold room. The facility is connected via a race to W012.

Multi-purpose Building W074

This is the newest building in the CART having been completed in early 2019. It is designed to accommodate poultry, sheep, goats, pigs or calves under climate controlled conditions. The multi-purpose space can be subdivided with high tech ‘curtains’ in differing combinations - 4 independent quarters; 1 half and 2 quarters; or 2 halves. Independent control of air conditioning, ventilation, drainage and lighting is provided to each subdivision. The facility also includes two research laboratories and is connected via a race to W012.

Poultry Facilities

There are a number of facilities suitable for large scale poultry studies on UNE SMART farms. At Kirby Research Station there are 3 poultry sheds. Two of these are older style sheds with no temperature control and these are suitable for layer floor pen work. The main shed is divided into 4 rooms with programmable temperature, humidity, ventilation and lighting control and is suitable for large-scale broiler studies, animal welfare studies or replicated pen studies using the 50 or so small pens that the facility can accommodate. It has a storage/preparation room for sampling days, back-up generator power and toilet facilities. The location makes it ideal for studies where isolation is advantageous.

Laureldale Research Station has a commercial scale layer shed with the capacity to hold several thousand layer birds in commercial cages. On this site there other sheds that have been adapted for barn and/or free range systems for layers.

Smaller scale layer facilities for both layers and broilers are located close the CART complex but are isolated from the complex to allow animal health studies to be conducted. One of these also has programmable temperature, humidity, ventilation and lighting control and a storage/preparation room for sampling days.

Associated Resources - Isolator Facility

This facility which contains 24 positive pressure isolators, is built to microbiological PC2 level (Physical Containment Level 2) enabling vaccination and infectious disease studies to be carried out. The facility is also accredited as PC2 by OGTR (Office of the Gene Technology Regulator) enabling testing of genetically modified organisms/vaccines if required.

Bookings and Enquiries

Please contact the CART Director via email cc. the Manager for all research facility bookings as soon as you have an experimental start date that you are confident in or at any time to see current availability. Scheduling a meeting between all involved CART staff and researchers at the time of booking (or earlier) is encouraged to get aligned on experimental requirements in terms of facility set up, feed, animals, staff, consumables, equipment and training requirements.

Bookings for the teaching facilities e.g. Wet Laboratory and Post-Mortem room, must be completed through the central booking system. Please send the Director of the CART an email once this is completed.

Please contact the CART Director via email cc. the Manager for all technical support requests related to research. The earlier the request the easier it will be to ensure that you get the support that you need. Once you have a start date set in stone it should be possible in most circumstances to schedule all or the majority of experimental technical support in one go based on the protocol. For some experiments, there will be a need for additional technical support from within discipline or project funded casuals.

Bookings for teaching related technical support from the CART staff must be completed through use of a technical support request (TSR). Please send the Director of the CART an email once this is completed.

Safety, Security and Biosecurity

To meet with WHS and biosecurity obligations and to ensure that all animals, facilities and equipment are cared for appropriately, the CART has a strict sign in policy for all visitors and users of the facility.

On campus: There is a sign in register on the small table in the entrance foyer of W071 for access to all of the on-campus CART facilities. On arrival please sign in and identify which facility you will be working in and sign out on your departure. The same policy applies to after hours and weekend access. Please contact the Director if you need to be set up for swipe card access to W071 in order to do this.

Kirby and Laureldale poultry sheds: There is a sign in register in the preparation room at Kirby and in the preparation room in each of the steel sheds at Laureldale. The process is identical to that on campus.

Teaching Practicals: Please ask all students to wait on the concourse outside the entrance to W071 before being taken through as a group to W02B by a staff member associated with that practical. The supervising staff member can sign in (and out) on behalf of the group, identifying how many students are participating in the practical under their care.

CART Staff

Justin Bailey
Director
P:    02 6773 3395
M:   0408 409 142
E:    jbailey@une.edu.au

Grahame Chaffey
Manager
P:    02 6773 3233
M:   0408 658 248
E:    gchaffey@une.edu.au

Mark Porter
Technical Officer
P:    02 6773 2564
M:   0428 677 521
E:    mporter2@une.edu.au

Michael Raue
Technical Officer
P:    02 6773 5136
M:   0477 756 024
E:    mraue@une.edu.au

Jenny Wittig
Technical Assistant
P:   02 6773 1996
M:   0411 558 527
E:    jwittig@une.edu.au