RSPCA Policy D8 Animals in teaching

8.1RSPCA Australia supports and encourages the use of alternatives to replace animals in teaching wherever possible, both to introduce the concepts of reduction, refinement and replacement at an early stage, and to prevent animal suffering.
8.2RSPCA Australia is opposed to the specific killing of animals for the purposes of dissection or other teaching use.
8.3Teaching institutions must ensure effective mechanisms are in place for students and staff to report animal welfare concerns without prejudice.
8.4RSPCA Australia is opposed to the use of animals in an educational setting if their sole purpose is novelty or entertainment.
8.5RSPCA Australia advocates that before using animals, all students must complete a formal unit on animal welfare (suitable to their level of education) which aims to improve understanding of the principles of animal welfare, fosters a compassionate attitude towards animals and promotes ethical thinking about the use of animals. Students should also receive training using non-animal alternatives to gain skills and confidence in handling equipment and the method prior to using animals.
8.6Preschool, primary and secondary education
8.6.1RSPCA Australia is opposed to the keeping, breeding or use of living animals in all schools other than schools teaching animal agriculture because they do not have appropriate facilities and trained staff to adequately protect the welfare of animals in this setting, including such aspects as housing, handling, veterinary care, ethical sourcing and ensuring suitable animals are appropriately rehomed after their use.
8.6.2RSPCA Australia is opposed to poultry egg hatching in school or preschool classrooms for any purpose.
8.6.3Schools teaching animal agriculture

RSPCA Australia advocates that the use of animals in schools teaching animal agriculture must be justified as a mandatory requirement of the curriculum and approved and monitored by an animal ethics committee.
8.6.4Any persons handling, treating or using farm animals must have successfully completed recognised training and accreditation programs, where they exist, or be appropriately assessed to be competent or be directly supervised by appropriately competent persons. (See RSPCA Policy B2)
8.6.5All schools teaching animal agriculture must develop and implement an animal welfare plan for their facility which includes defining objectives (including pain management, contemporary welfare issues and teaching best practice), monitoring, reporting, recording, review and implementing improvements.
8.6.6Invasive husbandry procedures must only be carried out where established as necessary for animal welfare reasons. If an invasive procedure is to be performed, to ensure good animal welfare it must be undertaken at the earliest age possible, be performed by a registered veterinarian and/or an accredited and competent operator as appropriate and be accompanied by adequate, timely and effective pain-relieving and pain-preventing products. (See RSPCA Policy B4.9.4)
8.7Tertiary education
8.7.1RSPCA Australia advocates that an appropriate conscientious objection process must be available to students who are concerned about using animals in their course.
8.7.2There should be a clearly defined animal welfare component in all animal-related courses, science and veterinary degrees and post-graduate training. All teaching staff who use animals must have undergone animal welfare and ethics training.
8.8Medical surgical training

RSPCA Australia is opposed to the use of animals for medical training where effective non-animal models exist.

(adopted 5/12/2020)

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Updated on December 8, 2020

RSPCA policies reflect the best available evidence to direct and guide RSPCA and others, to promote and achieve good animal welfare outcomes.

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