Department of Education

Animal Ethics

Animal Ethics

Animal Ethics ‹ Animal Use Decisions

Animal Use Decisions


Zoonotic disease

A zoonotic disease is a disease that can be passed from an animal to a human.

The list of zoonotic diseases is long and diverse. Whenever humans and animals come into contact, there may be a risk of a disease being transmitted to the humans. While the incidence of zoonotic disease is low, they are generally preventable with simple medication and good hygiene.

As zoonotic hazards vary with the species and condition of animals, the type of housing and the nature of the work being done, safe work procedures that include training, instruction and supervision of students should be established.

To prevent the transmission of zoonotic diseases, it is essential that teachers and lecturers act to reduce the risks.

Reducing the risks with small animals, such as dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and rodents

  • Use preventative treatments for worming dogs and cats, wherever possible with veterinary advice.
  • Seek immediate treatment for sick pets.
  • Practise good hygiene by:
  1. washing hands and contact areas with soap and water after handling animals or cleaning out animal housing;
  2. avoiding putting hands near the face while carrying out these activities;
  3. washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating;
  4. not allowing animals to lick the face or dishes and utensils that are used for human food;
  5. not washing animal bowls and bedding with those used by humans;
  6. keeping small children away from puppies and kittens until they have been cleared by a veterinarian; and
  7. ensuring that animal housing is cleaned at least once every 24 hours and removing any animal droppings.

Reducing the risks with livestock

Avoid contact with water that is contaminated by faeces or urine and obtain protection against the inhalation of dust and droplets of water; clean benches and floors with detergents and disinfectants; treat any abrasions or wounds as quickly as possible; eradicate pests, such as rats and mice; provide good drainage and dispose of effluent hygienically; burn afterbirths and other organic waste; pasteurise milk; and pay close attention to personal hygiene, washing areas of the body that may become contaminated, especially the skin and eyes.

Reducing the risks with wildlife

Pay close attention to personal hygiene, as diseases can be contracted from wild animals: in particular, wash hands with soap and water before and after handling them and wash any scratches or bites and seek immediate medical advice.

Animal Use Decisions
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