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Caring for Animals


Hamilton Junior High School will recognise its legal obligation to those species defined as “animals” under The Animal Welfare Act 1999, and its moral responsibilities with regard to other invertebrate animals. The school must have guidelines and procedures to regulate their use and treatment when they are studied, kept in school or when they are brought to school.

Animals are brought into classrooms for a number of reasons. These include:

  • For display as loved pets
  • As classroom pets
  • For school pet days
  • For teaching purposes
  • For science-fair projects
  • To encourage students to share interest in living things.

The use of animals in schools is governed by The Wildlife Act 1953 and the Animal Welfare Act 1999.


  • To provide opportunities for students to handle and care for a range of animals in humane ways.
  • To educate student by example and discussion about the importance of caring for animals and the responsibilities that this involves.
  • To ensure that in any activity involving the keeping of an animal or its study on a field trip, that the welfare of the animal is given high priority.
  • To encourage, through example the proper care of living things.


                  i.   It is the responsibility of the classroom teacher, or the teacher involved with the creatures to ensure that all living things are treated with care and respect, and that the legal requirements are met.

                 ii.   Any teacher or non-teaching staff member is to approach the Principal if they are in doubt as to the correct procedure or they observe breaches of the Animal Welfare Act, 1999.

               iii.   Animals:

  • Mammal
  • Bird
  • Reptile
  • Amphibian
  • Fish
  • Octopus, squid, lobster. Marine or freshwater crayfish
  • Any other animal as determined by the Governor General by Order in Council
  • Mammalian, avian or reptilian “foetus”
  • Marsupial pouch young

               iv.   All must be provided with their five basic needs or five freedoms.

a)      Freedom from thirst, hunger, malnutrition (including during weekends and holidays)

b)      Freedom from discomfort or lack of shelter, by being provided with appropriate cages or containers that are properly ventilated and hygienic and do not allow exposure to extremes of noise, draughts and sunlight

c)      Freedom from injury, disease and parasite infestation, by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment. Diseased or injured animals are treated promptly and are not kept at school until they have recovered. If it is not possible to treat or cure the disease the animal is humanely destroyed

d)      Freedom from distress through proper care and handling

e)      Freedom to display their normal patterns of behaviour.

                v.   Provision is to be made for the long term care of animals during the school holidays.

               vi.   When an animal is no longer required or is no longer able to be kept, appropriate arrangements are made to find the animal a suitable home or in the case of a wild animal it is returned to its natural habitat. Non-native animals are not to be released into the environment. If appropriate arrangements cannot be found the animal is to be humanely destroyed.

             vii.   Animals captured on a field trip are to be returned to their habitat before the students leave the area unless proper care at the School has been pre-arranged.

            viii.   Native animals are not usually to be kept in the School. If a native animal is kept, a permit from the Department of Conservation must be obtained.

               ix.   No animals are to be manipulated in the School or by students entering Science Fair projects. Manipulations means interfering with the normal physiological, behavioural, or anatomical integrity of an animal, by deliberately:

  • Subjecting it to a procedure which is unusual or abnormal when compared with that to which animals of that type would be subjected under normal management or practice and which involves:

a)      Exposing the animal to any parasite, micro-organism, drug, Chemical. Biological product, radiation, electrical stimulation, or environmental condition: or

b)      Enforced activity, restraint, nutrition, or surgical intervention: or:

c)      depriving it of usual care;

                x.   The term “manipulation” does not include;

  • Any therapy or prophylaxis necessary or desirable for the welfare of an animal; or
  • The killing of an animal by the owner or person in charge in the course of research (as at the end point), testing, or teaching if the animal is killed in such a manner that the animal does not suffer unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress; or
  • The killing of an animal in order to undertake research, testing, or teaching on the dead animal or on a prenatal or development tissue of the animal if the animal is killed in such a manner that the animal does not suffer unreasonable or unnecessary pain or the distress; of
  • The hunting or killing of any animal in a wild state by a method that is not an experimental method ; or
  • Any procedure that the Minister declares……. Not to be a manipulation for the purposes of this Act.



This policy is reviewed as part of the Board’s Review Cycle.

Date of Approval _____________________________________________

Chairperson _________________________________________________