Department of Education

Animal Ethics

Animal Ethics

Animal Ethics ‹ Animal Use Decisions

Animal Use Decisions

Why should animals be used?

The SAEC recognises that the responsible use of animals in teaching can enrich learning experiences for students in primary and secondary schools and is essential for programs on animal practices in agricultural colleges and State Training Providers.

Although it can be argued that the outcomes and values specified in the Curriculum Framework could be achieved without the use of animals, the SAEC is of the opinion that animal use supports students in primary and secondary schools in achieving the following science learning outcomes:

Acting Responsibly

Students make decisions that include ethical consideration of the impact of the processes and likely products of science on people and the environment.

(Curriculum Framework, p. 224)

Life and Living

Students understand their own biology and that of other living things, and recognise the interdependence of life.

(Curriculum Framework, p. 227)

The SAEC also advocates the responsible use of animals to develop appropriate animal welfare values in society. This has links to values 1.2, 2.3 and 5.2 in the Curriculum Framework and the development of these values is adequate justification for the use of animals in the primary and secondary context.

They are appropriate in all phases of development:

Early Childhood

During the early childhood years, a rich, experiential curriculum will enable children to develop a repertoire of encounters with, and knowledge about their world that can be built on in the future. Young children should be provided with opportunities to practise and develop their investigative skills using everyday materials and organisms.

(Curriculum Framework, p. 231)

The provision of authentic, hands-on experiences of animals in the early years assists students to begin to develop understandings about animals and responsible, empathetic attitudes about animal welfare.

Middle childhood

Learning experiences must allow children to continue exploration of their own world, and begin to expand their activities beyond the limits of the school grounds. Learning and teaching programs should be designed to provide children with opportunities to think about science events and processes so they can begin to make links between science at school, at home and in the community and learn to act in a responsible way.

(Curriculum Framework, p. 234)

Animals, both domestic and free-living, provide children with experiences beyond the school. They can observe animals in their natural environments to see how they interact as ‘families’, packs or troops, describe changes as they grow, and compare animal needs and behaviours with those of humans.

Early adolescence

Teachers should devise investigations that students find interesting around topics based on current events or problems demonstrating interrelationships of science, technology and society. There should be occasions when students’ investigations impinge on the world outside the classroom in order to strengthen their skills in relating science to everyday life.

(Curriculum Framework, p. 236)

Animals provide students with opportunities to discuss investigations in terms of societal attitudes and values toward animals and the responsibilities of humans in influencing the lives of other living things.

Late adolescence / young adulthood

As their depth of understanding of scientific concepts develops, students are better able to apply and evaluate scientific knowledge in different contexts and to act responsibly by making decisions based on the consideration of many factors.

(Curriculum Framework, p. 237)

An understanding of animals and the impact of humans upon them will enable students to make decisions for themselves that consider community issues from multiple viewpoints, including a viewpoint founded in a belief of the rights of animals such as:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury or disease
  • Freedom to express normal behaviour
  • Freedom from fear and distress
Animal Use Decisions

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