Animal Ethics in Australian Classrooms

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Involving animals in lessons involves moral and legal decisions.

What is animal ethics?

child reading a book about animal ethics

The ethical use of animals for scientific purposes and teaching. This is a legal obligation in Australian educational institutions.

What is animal welfare?

‘An animal’s quality of life based on an assessment of an animal’s physical and psychological state as an indication of how the animal is coping with the ongoing situation as well as a judgment about how the animal feels’.

Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 7th Edition 2004, p.3.

teacher and animal ethics

Is a classroom animal for you?

Before you introduce a classroom animal, read the ‘Teacher’s Pet!’ guide on WOAW to help you make responsible choices and to find some exciting alternatives. For example: ‘For the Birds!’ on WOAW provides alternatives to chick hatching experiments in primary schools.

teacher and students discuss animal ethics

Giving students the choice

Students should be offered alternatives if they are opposed to dissection on the grounds of animal cruelty. Enter “alternatives to dissections” into your internet search engine to find resources that educate without cruelty.

RSPCA Policy

Read RSPCA Australia’s Policy on Animals in Education and Animal Research and Experimentation. Our full Policy Papers are available online at:

Learn about the law in your state

Schools have legal obligations when using animals in Australian schools for scientific purposes.

Find state specific ethics in education info for: