All animals in NSW are protected by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW). This Act (known as POCTAA) applies to all people in NSW at all times and deals with the cruel and unconscionable treatment of all animals.
In addition, animals used in teaching or research of any kind in NSW, are protected by special legislation, the Animal Research Act 1985 (NSW). This Act was introduced to ensure that whenever animals are used for teaching or research, it is justified, humane and considerate of the animal's needs. The Animal Research Act 1985 (NSW) covers the use of animals in primary or secondary schools, government or non-government schools.
The Animal Research Regulation 1995 incorporates the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes.
In addition in NSW, there are a variety of acts and regulations that relate to animals. They include:
Model codes of practice, guidelines and standard operating procedures
- Companion Animals Act 1998 provides for the management of cats and dogs, including their identification and registration. It sets out the duties and responsibilities of their owners and procedures for registering animals and for dealing with seized animals.
- Meat Industry Act 1978 regulates the meat industry in NSW and controls the slaughter of stock for human consumption. Slaughtering of stock on unlicensed premises for human consumption is illegal, other than on farms for consumption by the family.
- National Parks and Wildlife Amendment Act 2001 prohibits the taking or holding of most native fauna except under licence. If teachers wish to use native fauna in teaching activities, a licence must be obtained from the National Parks and Wildlife Service prior to the commencement of the activity. Exceptions that relate to teaching are the collection of tadpoles for observation (see Species information: Frogs and toads (pdf 72kb) for conditions and more information about this activity) and the keeping of any of 42 species of native birds, purchased from a licensed supplier (see Species information: Australian native animals (pdf 284kb)).
- Pesticides Act 1999 controls the use of pesticides in NSW and allows a pesticide to be used only according to the directions on the label.
- Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 regulates, controls and prohibits the supply and use of poisons, restricted substances, drugs of addiction and other dangerous drugs. There are restrictions on the labelling, access to and supply of many of these drugs.
- Rural Lands Protection Act 1998 relates to travelling stock and the control of noxious and feral animals and the keeping of rabbits.
- Stock (Chemical Residues) Act 1975 controls the slaughter for human consumption of stock where there is a risk of the animals being contaminated by certain chemicals. It relates particularly to pesticides and other residues and places controls over the movement of stock from herds or flocks where residues above the legal limit have been detected.
- Stock Diseases Act 1923 regulates the control of stock diseases in NSW, with restrictions on the movement of diseased stock and requirements to notify certain diseases in some areas, e.g. footrot in protected areas. It gives certain powers to inspectors to enter premises where disease is suspected and allows action to be taken with diseased stock. This Act gives power to quarantine for certain diseases, e.g. footrot, bovine brucellosis and tuberculosis.
- Stock Medicines Amendment Act 2004 controls the registration, use and possession of stock medicines. Some medicines are readily available on the open market, e.g. anthelmintics. Others are restricted substances and can be prescribed or supplied only by a veterinarian, e.g. antibiotics. Others can be used only by a veterinarian or under the direct supervision of a veterinarian, e.g. anaesthetics.
- Veterinary Practice Act 2003 lists those procedures nominated as Acts of Veterinary Science, which can be performed only by registered veterinary surgeons. Such procedures would be permitted in a school only where a registered veterinary surgeon is on the staff or employed to perform the procedure.
In addition to these pieces of legislation there are codes of practice, guidelines and standard operating procedures that are produced. These documents describe minimum standards by which livestock should be kept or how a procedure should be carried out.
For more information about these documents go to the following links on this page:
Department of Environment and Conservation
The Department of Environment and Climate Change administers a variety of licences and policies that relate to the keeping of native animals. More information about the licences and policies that relate to the use of animals in schools can be found at the Department of Environment and Climate Change link on this page or within the Species information: Australian native animals (pdf 284kb).
Animal Ethics Infolink is a web site that has been developed by the Animal Research Review Panel and NSW Department of Primary Industries Animal Welfare Unit. Its aim is to assist researchers, teachers and members of Animal Ethics Committees to access information about the operation of legislation relating to animal welfare.
Animal Ethics Infolink - Legislation summarises and provides links to animal welfare legislation internationally and throughout Australia. The ARRP policies and guidelines section of this site lists and links to a variety of documents that relate to the use of animals for teaching and research.