Obtaining approval to use animals

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

Activities that are pre-approved

The Victorian Schools Animal Ethics Committee (VSAEC) has a list of pre-approved activities that are considered ethically sound.

To run these activities, schools must have a Scientific Procedures Premises Licence

VSAEC provides pre-approved activities on the understanding that two conditions are met:

  1. Schools must notify VSAEC of the teacher who will be responsible for the welfare of the animals, by completing a Notice of Intent via the Approval and Reporting System. The form will generate an approval number.
  2. When the activity has concluded, Completion Advice must be sent to VSAEC via the Approval and Reporting System. This step is to assist in compiling annual data for the Bureau of Animal Welfare.

Pre-approved activities are:     

Activities that are not pre-approved

If your activity is not pre-approved, 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. Meeting dates for 2017 are:

  • 21 February
  • 20 March
  • 19 June
  • 11 September
  • 4 December

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 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.