These procedures must be read in conjunction with the Use of Animals in Public Schools Policy.
These procedures apply to principals and teachers in public schools.
- prior to seeking approval, refer to the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th Edition 2013;
- submit an application using the Animal Ethics System (login required) and obtain written approval from the Schools Animal Ethics Committee prior to the commencement of a scientific teaching activity; and
- submit an amendment notification if there is any variation to the activity, including staff changes, to the original proposal and not proceed until approval has been granted by the Schools Animal Ethics Committee.
Standard Operating Procedures
To assist schools to adhere to consistent and high quality practices for the care and use of animals in schools, the Schools Animal Ethics Committee has developed Guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures for a number of activities:
- Chicken egg hatching using a commercial supplier
- Chicken egg hatching using personal or school equipment
- Guidelines for chick handling
- Guidelines for disposal of dead animals
- Small scale poultry housing for schools
- Transition of chicks from brooder to unheated accommodation
- Fish Euthanasia
When seeking approval for a scientific teaching activity, the teacher should demonstrate consideration of the Three R’s; replacement, reduction and refinement from the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th Edition 2013.
Chicken egg hatching is considered to be a scientific teaching activity and requires the submission of a proposal.
Approval is not required for the use of animals for purely observation activities or non-scientific activities. This may include animals kept as class pets such as goldfish, budgies and mice or chickens kept as part of a kitchen garden project.
If a teacher is unsure whether an activity requires approval, the teacher should contact the Executive Officer of the Schools Animal Ethics Committee.
- where animals are used for a scientific teaching activity, complete a Completion Report via the Animal Ethics System (login required) at the completion of the activity; and
- where approval is granted to undertake the activity on a recurring basis, the principal must submit an Annual Report via the Animal Ethics System (login required) at the completion of the activity each year, or by the last day of Term 4.
3.3 Illness/injury, death or unexpected incident
Principals or teachers must:
- seek appropriate veterinary assistance and treatment, in a timely manner when an animal experiences an illness, injury or unexpected incident; and
- complete an Unexpected adverse event report and forward it to the Executive Officer of the Schools Animal Ethics Committee within one working day of the event.
3.4 Record keeping
Teachers must maintain records of the use, care and monitoring of animals that are sufficient to enable the Schools Animal Ethics Committee to verify that the wellbeing of animals has been monitored as agreed and allow review and critical investigation of the cause(s) of and responses to unexpected adverse events.
Animal Use and Health Records have been developed for use by schools however alternative formats can be developed for the on-going monitoring of animals, providing all the information contained in the form is retained.
3.5 Displaying the licence
Principals must confirm that a copy of the Department’s current Animal Use Licence is on display in any place where animals are used for scientific purposes.
Any live non-human vertebrate (that is, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals encompassing domestic animals, purpose-bred animals, livestock, wildlife) and cephalopods.
Any action or group of actions to impart or demonstrate knowledge or techniques to achieve an educational outcome in science, as specified in the relevant curriculum or competency requirements.
5. Related documents
6. Contact information
Director, Agricultural Education
Policy contact officer:
Consultant, Animals in Schools
T: (08) 9264 5202
7. History of changes
|Effective date||Last update date||Procedure version no.|
|5 August 2014||2.0|
|Animals in Schools policy reviewed and recast as Use of Animals in Schools Policy and Procedures. Endorsed by DG on 27 June 2014.|
|5 August 2014||3 September 2014||2.1|
|Guidance updated with information on where to obtain forms.|
|5 August 2014||4 August 2015||2.2|
|Deleted references to contact Agricultural Education Branch as per D15/0197284 and replaced Form D: Annual Report with Form E: Activity Completion under section 3.2 as per approval email D15/0260168.|
|5 August 2014||2 August 2017||2.3|
|Minor change to contact details D17/0326703|
|5 August 2014||31 August 2018||2.4|
|Minor changes to include reference to Public Schools D18/0151652, updated legislation links D18/0207680 and updates to reflect organisational changes D18/0388845.|
|5 August 2014||20 February 2020||2.5|
|Minor changes to contact information D19/0473431|
|5 August 2014||7 September 2022||2.6|
|Minor changes to contact information D22/0682617|
|5 August 2014||24 July 2023||2.7|
|Minor changes to hyperlinks and forms D23/1340281|
|5 August 2014||16 August 2023||2.8|
|Minor changes to guidance regarding chicken hatching - D23/1428735|
8. More information
Please ensure you also download the policy supported by this procedure.
Procedure review date
5 August 2017
Procedure last updated
16 August 2023