Record Keeping, Incident Reporting and School Audits

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

​Schools must maintain records of animal use. Below are a number of forms that would be suitable for schools to use or adapt to their needs.

Animal health reports and records

The health of all animals must be monitored and records retained by the school. The School Animal Health form (in the forms section below) is a sample. The monitoring and recording of the ongoing health of the animals can be done in other ways, such as a daily diary, provided all the information required on this form is collected and maintained. Records must be made available on request to RSPCA inspectors, BAW Auditors, VSAEC or officers of the school system or sectors.

The Code stipulates:

  • 3.1.9 Investigators and teachers must ensure that records of the use and monitoring of animals used for scientific purposes are maintained
  • 6.2.4 Teachers must keep a record of the number of students involved and the number of animals used in each activity and the welfare outcomes
  • 6.4.9 Detailed animal care guidelines and complete animal records must be available in schools for inspection by VSAEC members and regulatory bodies.

Reporting on the death of an animal or unexpected adverse event

The ‘Adverse Event involving School Animals’ form (in the forms section below) must be completed if an animal dies in unusual or unexpected circumstances. VSAEC must be notified promptly.

An unexpected adverse event in a teaching activity using animals is anything that happens that meets both the following criteria:

Unexpected - an event not as described in the approved proposal or subsequent documents submitted to VSAEC

Adverse - not in the best interests of the animal

Notifying VSAEC of the death of an animal or of unexpected adverse events is a requirement of the Code:

  • 2.2.27 The records maintained by teachers and animal facility managers will enable the AEC to verify that the welfare of animals has been monitored as agreed. Such records also enable a critical investigation of the cause(s) of unexpected adverse events as a basis for future prevention strategies.
  • 2.2.28 Teachers and animal facility managers should promptly notify the AEC of any unexpected, adverse events that may impact on the wellbeing of an animal in their care.
  • 3.1.12 Teachers must make reports to AEC as requested, including prompt notification of any adverse or unexpected effects that impact on animal wellbeing, advice when a project is completed or discontinued and the information required for the annual report of any ongoing project.
  • 6.4.13 The unexpected death of an animal or adverse outcome should be reported promptly to VSAEC.

Reporting these events assist VSAEC to monitor activities. It also encourages teachers to investigate the cause/s of the event and provides a basis for future prevention strategies to improve animal welfare and activity outcomes.

Forms

School audits

In complying with the 'Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 2004', members from VSAEC are obliged to conduct a number of individual school visits annually to inspect animal housing and laboratory areas and record findings. Records of inspection include the names of those who attended, observations, any identified problems, follow-up and outcomes. It is important that schools maintain their record keeping of school animals as these documents are requested as part of any inspection.

Additionally, the Department of Primary Industries, through the Bureau of Animal Welfare conducts triennial audits of licences and VSAEC to assess compliance with relevant legislation and codes of practice. VSAEC last underwent audit in October 2011. The audit protocol can be found at: Department of Environment and Primary Industries.

Any visit should be viewed as an educational opportunity for both schools and auditors.