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Animal Care in Schools

The use of animals in schools for educational purposes is governed by the Animal Research Act (1985) NSW. Catholic Schools NSW meets a requirement of this Act by issuing an Animal Research Authority to each school annually. Learn more in the 2024 memorandum below.


Download CSNSW Memo Animal Research Authority


Download form HERE
Please note: completed form needs to be stored on school site.


The Animals in Schools website has been designed to assist schools satisfy the requirements of the Animal Research Act 1985 (NSW) and the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes.

In order to comply with the Animal Research Act 1985 (NSW) and to monitor the use of animals for teaching and research purposes in their schools, the school sectors have established the Schools Animal Care and Ethics Committee (SACEC).

The advice on the website is supported by the SACEC and is an outcome of the collaboration of the three NSW school sectors.

The site includes an explanation of the legislation governing the use of animals in schools, SACEC approved activities and their respective categories. It also provides detailed information about animals commonly used in schools, their handling and approved use.

Animals in Schools – application forms

Many activities using animals have blanket approval under the Animal Research Authority. For activities not blanket approved, approval from the Schools Animal Care and Ethics Committee (SACEC) must be sought.

Approval for particular activities

Animal welfare guidelines for teachers, sets out the responsibilities and requirements of NSW schools and teachers that use animals for educational purposes. Teachers are required to obtain written approval from the SACEC prior to commencement of any activities using animals for which approval is required.

A full list of approved activities and their corresponding categories can be viewed on the DoE website HERE.

Approval from the SACEC is required when teachers want to:

  • allow students to carry out any category 4 or 5 activity (Application form 1)
  • demonstrate a category 5 activity (Application form 4)
  • allow students to carry out any activity, using animals, that are not included in the list of approved activities (Application form 1)
  • demonstrate any activity, using animals, that are not included in the list of approved activities (Application form 4)
  • apply for a scientific licence for keeping a native animal species that is not one of the five species covered by the school sector scientific licence.



Schools are busy places that have many students and staff entering and leaving the site daily, along with families and visitors . This increases the risk of plant and animal pests and diseases being spread. Schools have a responsibility to manage this risk.

Visit the NSW Government Education website for information on what schools must do.









If you require further information about the Animal Research Authority or the Animal Research Establishment, please CSNSW