What Needs to be Approved?

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

​Approval from the Victorian Schools Animal Ethics Committee (VSAEC) is required when animals are used to acquire, develop, or demonstrate knowledge and techniques for scientific purposes in teaching. Therefore, if animals are used for explicit teaching purposes in order to achieve educational outcomes or as part of the curriculum, approval is required.

This also applies to standard husbandry procedures and normal farming practices if the animals are being used for explicit teaching purposes.If animals are used for teaching purposes, schools need to have a Scientific Procedures Premises Licence.

For more information see Scientific Procedures Premises Licence

Either your planned activity is:

  • already described in the list of pre-approved activities (in which VSAEC needs to be notified via through the Approval and Reporting System), or
  • if not in the list of pre-approved activities, then you must make an application to VSAEC through the Approval and Reporting System.

See: Care and Use of Animals - Approval and Reporting System

Victorian Schools Animal Ethics Committee - Activities

VSAEC has a list of activities that have already been considered and accepted by the committee as being ethically sound. Whilst teachers are able to carry out these activities in their classes without further approval, it is important that VSAEC be advised of who will be responsible for the use of animals in schools. VSAEC provides these activities on the understanding that two conditions are met. 

Firstly, schools using them must notify VSAEC of the teacher who will be responsible for the welfare of the animals, by completing a Notice of Intent through the Approval and Reporting System. Submission of this form will generate an approval number. 

Secondly, the pre-approved activities must be followed as detailed and when the activity has concluded, a Completion Advice must be sent to VSAEC through the Approval and Reporting System. This second step is important to assist in the compilation of annual data required to be provided to the Bureau of Animal Welfare. 

Victorian Schools Animal Ethics Committee - Approved Activity
CATTLE: Administering Topical Treatment by Backline or Spray ​​
CATTLE: Age by Dentition ​
CATTLE: Mustering, Yarding and Drafting ​
CATTLE: Non-invasive measurement of growth ​ (doc - 237kb)
CATTLE: Non-invasive measurement of pulse or blood flow ​
CATTLE: Non-invasive Measurement of Respiration ​
CATTLE: Non-invasive Measurement of Scrotum and Testicles (Palpation) ​
CATTLE: Rearing Healthy Calves (Cows Create Careers Program)​
CATTLE: Restraint and Handling for Inspection
CATTLE: Sample collection of milk, faeces or urine (non-invasive) ​
CATTLE: Training for competition or showing
CHICKEN- Lifecycle: Egg Candling (doc - 533.5kb)
CHICKEN: Lifecycle- Brooding (docx - 1.01mb)
MICE: Reproduction (doc - 241.5kb)
RABBIT: Rearing
SHEEP: Halter training (doc - 242.5kb)
SHEEP: Measurement of Age by Dentition
SHEEP: Measurement of wool growth
SHEEP: Milking (doc - 229kb)
SHEEP: Non-invasive examination of scrotum and testicles (palpation and measurement)
SHEEP: Non-invasive measurement of body composition by ultrasound
SHEEP: Non-invasive measurement of Body Condition by Visual Assessment or Condition Scoring (doc - 237kb)
SHEEP: Non-invasive measurement of body weight
SHEEP: Non-invasive measurement of pulse or blood flow
SHEEP: Non-invasive measurement of respiration
SHEEP: Non-invasive sample collection of urine or faeces
SHEEP: Oral administration of drench or capsules
SHEEP: Restraint and Handling for Inspection
SHEEP: Taming and Gentling (doc - 235kb)
SHEEP: Training for Competition or Show ​ (doc - 235.5kb)
See: Care and Use of Animals - Approval and Reporting System 

For information on using the system, see: How to Use the Approval and Reporting System
 

Approval-required activities

There may be animal activities which you wish to pursue that are not identified in the pre-approved activities section. If this is the case, you will need to complete an Activity Request Form for VSAEC approval and submit this through the Approval and Reporting System at least 2 weeks before the Committee meets.

This may take a number of weeks so you are urged to plan accordingly. For VSAEC meeting dates, see: Care and Use of Animals in Victorian Schools


Please note:  you are not permitted to complete any animal activities without VSAEC approval.

To download and submit an Activity Request Form, visit ‘My School’s Activity Request’ in the Care and Use of Animals - Approval and Reporting System

For information on using the system, see: How to Use the Approval and Reporting System

If further advice is required, please contact the Executive Officer, VSAEC: animalethics@edumail.vic.gov.au

When approval is NOT required

If animals are used as pets for environmental enrichment (rather than for explicit teaching purposes), approval is not required. However, teachers' primary concern must be the welfare of the animals at all times, including provision for care during weekends and holiday periods and for veterinary care when needed. 

For more information on pets as opposed to animals used for scientific purposes, see: Working with Animals: Frequently Asked Questions

VSAEC approval is also not required for formal work experience or agricultural extension work involving routine procedures if all of the following apply: 

  • the animals are on their home property
  • the procedures would occur normally as part of routine management
  • the animals are not subjected to anything additional to what would occur in routine management
  • the teacher is competent to carry out the procedure.

Prohibited activities

The following activities using animals must not be carried out in schools or colleges:

  • surgical, invasive or other harmful procedures other than normal animal husbandry operations
  • induction of any infectious diseases or illness
  • production of nutritional deficiency
  • exposure to stimuli that cause abnormal physiological or behavioural responses
  • administration of toxins, ionising radiation and other bio-hazardous materials
  • breeding of animals solely for dissection.