At times, a person, whether a member of the public or associated with the school, may have concerns regarding the care and treatment of an animal under a school's care.
These concerns may be voiced as a formal animal welfare complaint to Biosecurity Queensland or RSPCA Queensland or may be expressed directly to a member of the school staff or to the Queensland Schools Animal Ethics Committee (QSAEC).
Where complaints relate to activities that have the potential to adversely affect animal wellbeing, the activities must cease immediately and cannot resume until the complaint has been investigated and the findings relayed to all relevant parties.
Animal welfare complaints reported to Biosecurity Queensland or RSPCA Queensland will result in an investigation by their investigators who will determine what further action is required.
Schools are required to refer complaints which relate to activities that would normally require QSAEC approval to QSAEC for investigation using the
Animal use complaint report. QSAEC must ensure that, where activities are conducted in accordance with QSAEC approval, the activities are reviewed in consultation with all relevant people to ensure that the reason for the complaint is addressed.
As a result of its investigations, QSAEC may:
- choose to conduct a
- modify, suspend or withdraw an existing animal ethics approval
- determine that the activities were not conducted in accordance with the QSAEC approval and refer the matter back to the institution concerned for action
- determine that no further action is required.
If investigations determine that schools have been non-compliant with the
Animal Care and Protection Act 2001, the
Animal Care and Protection Regulation 2012 or the
Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, penalties of a maximum of 300 penalty units ($126.15 per unit at 1 July 2017) or 1 year imprisonment, may apply. The penalty for cruelty offences is up to 2,000 penalty units or 3 years imprisonment.