Animals in Schools

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

​​Purpose of this policy

To ensure that all Victorian schools comply with legislation, and codes for the responsible care of animals, used for scientific purposes, in teaching.


Schools must:

  • consider if they can replace, reduce or refine their use of animals in teaching
  • treat all animals with respect and consideration, ensuring that the level of care for animals is maintained over holidays and weekends.
  • gain approval from the Victorian Schools Animal Ethics Committee (VSAEC) before animals are used for scientific purposes in teaching, if activities have not been pre-approved
  • not use an animal in more than one scientific activity, either in the same or different projects, without approval from VSAEC
  • maintain records of animal care and use for audit inspection by VSAEC
  • take care to prevent the spread of disease with hygiene and minimal handling of animals
  • seek written consent from the parents/carers and students to take animals home beyond completion of a teaching unit
  • not keep animal(s) at school if appropriate level of care and welfare cannot be provided.

Note:  If a student brings a sick, injured and orphaned animal to the school, a veterinary practitioner or the RSPCA should be contacted to handle the matter.

Related policies

Related legislation and regulations

  • Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and its regulations of 1997
  • Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (7th Edition, 2004)
  • Code of Practice for the Housing and Care of Laboratory Mice, Rats, Guinea Pigs and Rabbits
  • Wildlife Act 1975 and its regulations of 2002
  • Environment Protection Act 1970, as amended
  • Acts, guidelines and codes of practice relating to farm animals and wildlife available on the Department of Primary Industries.

Department resources

  • For advice and resources for schools including information relating to:
    • when and how to apply to VSAEC for approval
    • the decision making process when considering the use of animals
    • prohibited, pre-approved and approval-required activities
    • planning teaching activity guidance
    • approval and reporting system
    • frequently asked questions and species notes, see: Care and Use of Animals in Schools.