Department of Education

Animal Ethics

Animal Ethics

Animal Ethics ‹ Animal Use Decisions

Animal Use Decisions

Who is responsible?

Responsibilities of teachers and lecturers

These are detailed in the Code (pp 45, 46):

The person-in-charge of students has responsibility for the care and use of animals from the time of acquisition until the completion of the project. That person must:

  1. ensure that all care and use of animals is in accordance with the Code and all relevant provisions of Commonwealth and State or Territory legislation;
  2. have relevant training and qualifications;
  3. incorporate into the proposed activities any methods for the Replacement, Reduction or Refinement in the use of animals, provided such methods are compatible with the educational objectives;
  4. obtain AEC approval before the activities commence and ensure that activities are conducted as directed and approved by the AEC;
  5. where available, use alternative methods to prepare students for teaching activities involving animals;
  6. ensure that there is close, competent supervision of all students; and
  7. ensure that in the event of injury to animals, treatments ranging from a minor procedure to euthanasia are available.

(Code, 6.2.1)

Teachers or lecturers must ensure the activity is approved by the SAEC. Some categories of activities are pre-approved and some require a proposal to be submitted to the SAEC for specific approval (see Categories of animal use).

Where animals in schools or colleges are being cared for by laboratory or animal technicians or by animal house managers, the care and welfare of the animals can be delegated, but the responsibility is retained by the teacher or lecturer in charge.

The teacher must ensure that before commencing work with animals, students:

i. are instructed in the appropriate methods of handling and caring for animals; and

ii. have demonstrated that they are capable of performing the necessary tasks with care and competence.

(Code, 6.2.2)

People who are supervising students undertaking research must ensure that, prior to using animals, the students receive instruction in the ethical and legal responsibilities involved in the use of animals for scientific purposes, as well as the appropriate methods for animal care and use. The proposal must specify whether the student or supervisor is responsible for the welfare of the animals at each stage of the project.

(Code, 6.2.3)

Teachers and lecturers should discuss the proposed activities with students. If a student has an objection to using the animals on ethical, moral or religious grounds, he or she should have the choice of whether or not to participate in the activity.

Teachers must keep a record of the number of students involved and the number of animals used in each activity and the welfare outcomes.

(Code, 6.2.4)

Teachers and lecturers must ensure that the activity has been approved by the SAEC, either as a pre-approved activity (see Categories of animal use) or following the submission of a specific proposal to the SAEC.

Responsibilities of the principal or managing director

The principal or managing director is ultimately responsible for ensuring compliance with these Guidelines and the Code in the school or college.

Processes must be put in place to ensure that the use of animals in schools complies with these Guidelines, which themselves reflect the Code. This may include:

  • the establishment of a policy committee;
  • the designation of a person responsible for promoting awareness of these Guidelines; and
  • the acquisition or development of detailed guidelines for use in the school or college.

The principal or managing director must ensure:

  • appropriate training is provided for the teacher or lecturer in charge of teaching and learning activities using animals;
  • complete animal care records are available in schools or colleges for inspection at all times by the Scientific Inspector of the Department of Local Government and Regional Development or his or her agents, SAEC and officers from his or her education sector.
  • activities involving animals do not commence unless SAEC approval has been obtained;
  • all reasonable steps have been taken to ensure enclosures are used that are secure and safe from interference by intruders or other animals, and provisions have been made for emergencies such as food or fire;
  • students do not take animals home unless there is a clear written undertaking from an adult that the animals will be cared for adequately and responsibly;
  • animals are not held longer than is necessary for the teaching activity;
  • arrangements have been made for the ongoing monitoring of animal welfare; and
  • any unusual or unexpected illness or death of an animal is reported promptly to the SAEC.
Animal Use Decisions

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