Department of Education

Animal Ethics

Animal Ethics

Animal Ethics ‹ Animal Use Decisions

Animal Use Decisions

General animal care and welfare

Animal freedoms

The welfare of an animal includes its physical and mental state and good animal welfare implies both fitness and a sense of wellbeing. The RSPCA considers an animal’s welfare in the terms of the following five ‘freedoms’:

  • freedom from hunger and thirst, by the provision of ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour;
  • freedom from discomfort, by the provision of an appropriate environment that includes shelter and a comfortable resting area;
  • freedom from pain and disease, by prevention or through rapid diagnosis and treatment;
  • freedom to express normal behaviour, by the provision of sufficient space, proper facilities and the company of the animal’s own kind; and
  • freedom from fear and distress, by the provision of conditions and treatment that avoid inflicting mental suffering.

Animal environment

Animals’ needs must be considered when creating an environment in which they can be studied. These needs include:

  • housing, which must be:
  1. constructed of durable and impervious materials;
  2. kept clean and well ventilated;
  3. maintained in good repair;
  4. escape proof;
  5. protected from climatic extremes;
  6. constructed to avoid injury to the animals;
  7. large enough to ensure the animals’ wellbeing (refer to Guidelines, Section 2.2 for individual species);
  8. positioned in a safe place; and
  9. clean and have suitable bedding.
  • diet;
  • veterinary care;
  • grooming;
  • social structures to keep the animal healthy
  • a suitable environment, in terms of, for example, temperature, light, humidity and noise levels; and
  • appropriate levels of handling by students. Animals must not be exposed to over-handling as this will induce stress.

In general, large animal species should only be considered for use by experienced farm or stock managers in agricultural and State Training Providers.

Animal Use Decisions

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