Animal Ethics in Queensland Classrooms

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Involving animals in lessons involves moral and legal decisions.

teacher and animal ethics

You and the law in Queensland Classrooms

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

The use of animals in schools is governed primarily by the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001. The Act incorporates the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes – 7th Edition 2004: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/ea16syn.htm.

This legislation was commenced in Queensland in March 2002 with the aim of:

  1. promoting responsible animal care and use;
  2. providing standards for animal care and use;
  3. protecting animals from cruelty; and
  4. safeguarding the welfare of animals used for scientific purposes by ensuring that their use is justified, humane and considerate of the animals’ needs.

Any proposed use of animals for scientific purposes and teaching in Queensland schools must be assessed by the Queensland Schools Animal Ethics Committee (QSAEC) and approval given before the activity can be undertaken in that school.

Compliance with the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 and the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 7th Edition 2004, is a legal obligation of all Queensland educational institutions.

NB:

  • Education Queensland holds QDPI&F registration for all EQ schools.
  • Non-State schools in Queensland must apply for QDPI&F registration prior to sending an application to the Queensland Schools Animal Ethics Committee (QSAEC).

For more information please visit the Animals in Schools website at: http://education.qld.gov.au/curriculum/area/science/animal-ethics-responsibilities.html.

If your school:

  1. Uses animal specimens for scientific research;
  2. Has companion animals;
  3. Uses animals for classroom observations and monitoring;
  4. Has livestock for school farm programs;
  5. Has visiting animal exhibitions;
  6. Enjoys wildlife within the school grounds and in the local community;

then the information on this website will assist you and your school community.

RSPCA Policy

Read RSPCA Australia’s Policy on Animals in Education and Animal Research and Experimentation. Our full Policy Papers are available online at: https://www.rspca.org.au/facts/policies

Teachers and scientific investigators in Queensland schools that use animals:

  1. Are directly responsible for the welfare of the animals in their care.
  2. Must submit applications to the QSAEC and have those applications approved before any animal-use activities can be undertaken in their school.
  3. Must apply to the QSAEC for any variation/s to the approved EQ applications and gain QSAEC approval for this variation prior to undertaking the animal-use activity.
  4. Must comply with the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001, the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 7th Edition 2004, and any requirements requested by the QSAEC.
  5. Must ensure appropriate animals in minimal numbers are used.
  6. Must ensure that pain and stress are minimised.
  7. Are responsible for monitoring and record keeping of the animals on their site.
  8. Must report any unexpected adverse events that may occur with any animals for which they are responsible.

All registered Queensland educational institutions must report annually:

  1. All animal use statistics (by the end of Term 1 each year)
  2. All grievances or complaints (as they occur)
  3. Any unexpected adverse events and animal deaths (as they occur)
  4. All schools that use animals for scientific research must complete Annual Reports recording all the animals that have been used, by the end of Term 1, for the previous year. If no animals have not been used on a school site Nil Animal Use return must be completed.

NB:

  • Education Queensland schools report to the Animal Ethics Officer.
  • All non-state schools report to directly to the QDPI & F.

The general principles of using animals in teaching are:

  1. Seek alternatives to using animals whenever and wherever possible.
  2. Animal use in teaching that includes scientific research must be approved by the Queensland Schools Animal Ethics Committee (QSAEC).
  3. Students are expected to model best practice in the use, care and welfare of animals.
  4. Students are encouraged and provided with opportunities to discuss ethical, social and scientific issues that relate to the use of animals in both educational and agricultural systems.
  5. Whenever and wherever possible encourage the use of non-animal models to achieve educational outcomes.
  6. Vocational training aspects that involve procedures that cause adverse impacts on animals that students carry out must be justified to the QSAEC.
  7. QSAEC approval is not required for routine farm procedures if they fit the code guidelines. (Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 7th Edition 2004, Section 6)

Material adapted from the Education Queensland website: for the Queensland Schools Animal Ethics Committee http://education.qld.gov.au/curriculum/area/science/animal-ethics.html. Teachers are encouraged to reproduce this material for distribution to other teachers. Reproduction for sale or publication is prohibited.

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