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Categories of animal use activities

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These categories determined by the Queensland Schools Animal Ethics Committee (QSAEC) refer to animal use in Queensland schools.

To align with the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes (PDF, 528KB), 8th edition 2013 (the Code) animals are defined as any live non-human vertebrate (that is, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals encompassing domestic animals, purpose-bred animals, livestock, wildlife) and cephalopods.

Scientific purposes are defined by the Code as all activities conducted with the aim of acquiring, developing or demonstrating knowledge or techniques in all areas of science, including teaching, field trials, environmental studies, research (including the creation and breeding of a new animal line where the impact on animal wellbeing is unknown or uncertain), diagnosis, product testing and the production of biological products. This also applies to standard husbandry procedures and normal farming practices if the animals are being used for explicit teaching purposes.

Topics covered on this page:

Category 1: Very low impact

Minimal or no contact with animal/s

NO animal ethics approval required. Registration with Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) NOT required. Activities NOT reportable to QSAEC.

May be conducted by all students and teachers with due care for the welfare of the animal, as prescribed in the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (PDF, 1.3MB). Refer to Duty of care for animals for further information.

Examples of Category 1 activities

  • Activities involving animals that do not fall under the Code
    • invertebrate animals (excluding cephalopods such as octopus or squid)
    • live prenatal or pre-hatched vertebrates (e.g. mammalian or reptilian foetus or pre-hatched bird in the first half of gestation or development)
    • animals or by-products of animals killed for purposes other than scientific ones (e.g. an ox heart sourced from an abattoir)
    • animals not being used for scientific purposes as defined above (e.g. assistance animals)
  • Observation of
    • animal behaviour
    • pets under the owner's control
    • animals in their natural surroundings or in zoos and other registered wildlife parks
    • performance by outside agencies that have animals as part of their exhibits
  • The appropriate care of classroom pets
  • Collecting and observing frog spawn and tadpoles.

Category 2: Low impact scientific animal use

Routine husbandry or animal care procedures, non-invasive techniques, some disturbance to animals

DAF registration and animal ethics approval required. Report on activities to QSAEC.

Students receive suitable specialised instruction and training leading to competency before commencing the activity under appropriate supervision.

The teacher/demonstrator has skills, knowledge and training appropriate to the activity to competently perform and supervise the activity, taking into account the competency and responsibilities of each student.

The activity is justified by the curriculum and scientific outcomes are evident.

Examples of Category 2 activities

  • Grooming activities, including those that involve general care and maintenance of animal health and wellbeing
  • Collection of wool, milk, faeces or urine samples (non-invasive)
  • Loading and unloading animals
  • Non-invasive measurement of body weight, growth, age and condition
  • Hand rearing of calves, lambs and kids
  • Non-invasive aquaponics activities

For further examples, refer to Category 2 activities as outlined in the Standard operating procedures.

Category 3: Moderate to high impact scientific animal use

Husbandry or animal care procedures requiring skill, limited invasive techniques, animals may be restrained, techniques may cause some stress to animals

DAF registration and animal ethics approval required. Report on activities to QSAEC.

Students receive suitable specialised instruction and training leading to competency before commencing the activity under appropriate supervision.

The teacher/demonstrator has skills, knowledge and training appropriate to the activity to competently perform and supervise the activity, taking into account the competency and responsibilities of each student.

The activity is justified by the curriculum or nationally accredited VET Training Package requirement and scientific outcomes are evident.

Examples of Category 3 activities

  • Handling and taming horses, cattle, sheep and goats
  • Training for competition or showing and showing activities
  • Mustering, drafting, capture, restraint and handling of non-free-living domesticated animals
  • Measurement of mild dietary effects (provided the normal nutritional needs for the life stage of the animals are met)
  • Rat and toad dissections
  • Measurement of body temperature (invasive)
  • Administering topical treatment by backline, spray or dip, pour on treatments, ointments
  • Chick hatching and observation and brooding: includes setting up and operation of incubation equipment, and selection and placement of fertile eggs
  • Transportation of livestock
  • Aquaculture and aquaponics activities - growth and development, environmental experiments

For further examples, refer to Category 3 activities as outlined in the Standard operating procedures.

Category 4: High Impact

Activities are unsuitable for students to conduct.

Animal ethics approval will NOT be granted. These activities should NOT be conducted.

Examples of Category 4 activities

Under s.4.6 of the Code, the following activities using animals are not to be demonstrated to, or carried out by, students:

  • animal breeding that does not achieve an educational outcome in science and fails to provide for the lifetime welfare of animals (and their offspring, if relevant)
  • surgical, invasive and other harmful procedures other than routine husbandry procedures
  • induction of infectious diseases or illness
  • production of nutritional deficiency
  • exposure to conditions that would cause an animal to experience pain and distress
  • administration of drugs or chemicals unless for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes
  • administration of toxins, ionising radiation or biohazards.

Under s.4.7 of the Code, humane killing of animals is not to be demonstrated to, or carried out by students, unless it is required:
(i) to achieve an educational outcome in science as specified in the relevant curriculum or competency requirement or
(ii) as part of veterinary clinical management of an animal, under the direction of a veterinarian.

Procedures deemed to be acts of Veterinary Science

  • stomach tubing of horses
  • artificial insemination of horses
  • dental procedures - all species
  • sampling for disease residue - production animals
  • ultrasound pregnancy testing when invasive - all species (by entry via rectum/vagina)
  • laparoscopic insemination
  • if administration of restricted drugs or making a diagnosis is required
    • micro chipping
    • acupuncture
    • inoculating
    • chiropractic/manipulation procedures
    • embryo transfer (non-surgical)
    • scaling, cleaning, polishing teeth
    • taking of blood for examination
    • deworming
    • farriery
    • ultrasound pregnancy testing (non-invasive only).
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Last updated 02 October 2018