Teaching with animals

The new Policy and Advisory Library (PAL) is now available. This page will be redirected to PAL from the start of Term 3. Make sure to update your bookmarks to the new PAL site.

All schools in Victoria must follow an approval process to use live animals for teaching:

  1. Consider the ethical and welfare issues involved. Follow the 3R filter to see if your planned activity is justified. Review species notes for animal care.
  2. Ensure your school's Scientific Procedures Premises Licence is current. Or apply for a new licence if required.
  3. If your planned activity is on the list of pre-approved activities, you must notify the Victorian Schools Animal Ethics Committee of your plans. If your planned activity is not pre-approved, you must submit a request to the committee and be approved first.
  4. After the activity, submit completion advice to the committee and maintain records.

The Victorian Schools Animal Ethics Committee

The Victorian Schools Animal Ethics Committee helps schools comply with the following legislation and codes:

Committee composition

The code stipulates a prescribed committee membership. VSAEC comprises:

  • Chairperson
  • Executive Officer
  • Independent Schools Victoria Representative
  • Catholic Education Representative
  • Category A: veterinarians with relevant experience
  • Category B: persons with substantial recent scientific or teaching experience in the use of animals
  • Category C: independent persons not involved in the scientific use of animals who have a demonstrable commitment to, and established experience in, furthering the welfare of animals
  • Category D: independent persons who have not been involved in the use of animals in scientific or teaching activities and who are independent of the institution
  • Category E: persons responsible for the routine care of animals from within the institution
Terms of reference
Complaints and grievances

The Victorian Schools Animal Ethics Committee has been established to help all government, Catholic and independent Victorian schools comply with relevant legislation in the responsible care for animals used in teaching.

Complaints should be lodged with the committee if you have any concerns regarding the care, use or treatment of any animal on school property. The matter should be reported immediately. For more information and to register a complaint, see: complaints process (doc - 172kb)

VSAEC is able to reject proposals for the use of animals in schools if the use of animals is not essential or justified and does not conform to the requirements of the code. This will take into consideration factors including ethics, the impact on the animal or animals and the anticipated educational value.

A grievance can be lodged if you do not agree with the decision of the VSAEC concerning the approval of any application that has been made. For more information and to register a grievance, see: Grievance Process (doc - 164kb)

Get advice

For enquiries, email: animalethics@edumail.vic.gov.au

For approval and reporting system login enquiries phone the service desk on 1800 641 943.

Select option 4 (school technical support), option 4 (assistance with software), then option 3 (assistance with other software).