Department of Education

Animal Ethics

Animal Ethics

Animal Ethics ‹ Animal Use Decisions

Animal Use Decisions

Overview of the steps and requirements for using animals

Teachers must only use animals for teaching when their use is essential to achieve an educational outcome as specified in the Western Australian Curriculum and suitable alternatives to replace the use of live animals are not available. 


  • the teaching and learning outcomes;
  • the appropriateness of the activity to achieve the outcomes;
  • the principles of 3 Rs: Replacement, Reduction and Refinement; and
  • the sources, care, monitoring and fate of your animals; and
  • record keeping and reporting requirements.

Step One - Determine whether your activity requires an application to be approved by the Schools Animal Ethics Committee (SAEC). 

Step Two - If prior approval is not required then go ahead with the activity ensuring the appropriate level of care for the animals and supervision of students. Go to Step Four.

Step Three - If approval is required then submit an application via the online Animal Ethics system.  Proceed with the activity only after receiving notification of approval.

Step Four - Maintain animal care records. Records help to ensure the well-being of animals. When the regular carer is not available then other staff can check when the animals have been fed, water changed and housing cleaned.

Step Five - Submit reports as required. 

Reports required include:

  • Activity Completion Report - required within 14 days of the end of an approved activity. Submit online.
  • Annual Report - required for any schools using animals in teaching activities with a science component, whether the activity required prior approval or not.  For example, sustainability programs that use laying hens do not require prior approval but those hens should be included on an Annual Report. Submit online.
  • Annual Report - NIL Return - required when a school has an approved activity but did not use the animals (e.g. SAEC granted a three year approval but the teacher did not undertake the activity in the second year).

Reports are not required when:

  • A school has no animals and does not have a current approval from the Schools Animal Ethics Committee (SAEC). NIL returns are no longer required from all schools.




Animal Use Decisions

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