After any teaching activity involving animals, you must submit completion advice via the
approval and reporting system
This is to assist in compiling annual data for the Bureau of Animal Welfare.
Schools must also maintain records of animal use.
Animal health reports and records
The health of all animals must be monitored and records retained by the school.
The school animal health form below is one 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 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 of these 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
The requirements of the code are:
- 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.
VSAEC are obliged to conduct individual school visits annually to inspect animal housing and laboratory areas and record findings. This is to comply with the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes,
Inspection records include:
- the names of those who attended
- 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.
The Bureau of Animal Welfare also conducts audits of licences and assesses compliance every three years. 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.