Animal Welfare Policy – Schools
Information about school responsibilities related to the use of animals for educational purposes to ensure compliance with legislative requirements. Also included is information about correct procedures if an incident of animal cruelty occurs to animals used by the school.
- Policy statement
- Department of Education staff must comply with the legislative requirements that govern the use of animals for educational purposes (as interpreted in Animals in schools: Animal welfare guidelines for teachers).
- Staff must be able to provide an educational justification for the use of animals in school contexts. The justification may relate to the broad educational objectives described in Animals in schools: Animal welfare guidelines for teachers or specific syllabus requirements.
- Schools must provide conditions and management appropriate to the behavioral and physical needs of any animals used for educational purposes.
- Wherever and whenever animals are encountered in school activities, teachers are responsible for assisting students to develop a respect for animals and to understand the ethical issues involved in the use of animals.
- If incidents of animal cruelty occur, the procedures described in the documents, Animals in schools: Animal welfare guidelines for teachers and Guidelines for Schools and Incident Reporting Policy must be followed.
- Audience and applicability
- This policy applies to all school staff, workplaces and activities conducted under the auspices of NSW public schools.
- The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW) applies to all people in NSW at all times and deals with the cruel and unconscionable treatment of all animals. In addition, the use of animals for educational purposes is governed by the Animal Research Act 1985 (NSW) and the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes.
- Within the Animal Research Act 1985 (NSW) and the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, the term scientific purposes includes teaching and requires teaching institutions to establish animal ethics committees to ensure compliance.
- The Schools Animal Care and Ethics Committee (SACEC) is the appointed animal ethics committee for NSW public schools, with its constitution and procedures prescribed in the Animal Research Act 1985 (NSW). The committee monitors the use of animals for teaching and research purposes in NSW public schools
- Responsibilities and delegations
- The Secretary seeks accreditation for NSW public schools as an animal research institution every three years and is the named responsible officer.
- Each year, the SACEC issues an Animal Research Authority on behalf of the department to each of its schools. This authority must be retained at the school and made available for inspection by appropriately authorised people including school education directors, inspectors from the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ Animal Welfare Unit and officers involved with the SACEC.
- Principals are responsible for ensuring compliance with Animals in schools: Animal welfare guidelines for teachers. This document specifies the roles and responsibilities of the SACEC, the department, school staff and students in relation to animal use.
- Each school must have an animal welfare liaison officer. In a primary school, this must be the principal. In a secondary school, the principal appoints the liaison officer.
- Monitoring and review
- The Animal Research Review Panel is a statutory authority that monitors implementation of the Animal Research Act 1985 (NSW). In public schools, SACEC – as the nominated animal ethics committee – liaises with and reports to the review panel on an annual basis and is inspected by the review panel every three years.
- The SACEC makes routine visits to a sample of schools throughout NSW each year to monitor their use of animals. It is mandatory that these inspections are carried out, their outcomes recorded and that schools act to resolve any identified issues.
- Schools must make arrangements for the daily inspection of the animals they keep and for the responsible person to be able to access veterinary care at short notice. This monitoring includes weekends and school holidays.
- Schools must maintain comprehensive records documenting acquisition, disposal and all husbandry activities carried out with the animals kept by the school for educational purposes.
- If schools keep animals, their evacuation and emergency plans must include information and procedures to ensure the welfare of animals is safeguarded in the event of flood, fire, drought, storm damage and vandalism.
- Schools are required to report incidents of animal cruelty. Reporting procedures must include the submission of a serious incident report and the notification of the incident to the schools animal welfare officer. Appropriate veterinary care must be sought for any injured animals.
- Animal Welfare Officer
(02) 7814 2631