Animal Ethics

Advice on a survey request from the NZ Antivivisection Society

The NZ Antivivisection Society sent a survey to schools during the October holidays, which is an Official Information Act (OIA) request; such requests must be responded to by 20 working days from the date they were received. Read the NZASE’s advice on the survey (Word document).

See also:


Ethics Approval for the use of Animals in Research and Teaching in Schools, Home Schools and Early Childhood Centres

Animals have their own needs and it matters to them how they are treated. We have a duty to provide animals in our care with those needs, – food and water, shelter, the opportunity to behave normally, careful handling, and good health.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, research and teaching involving manipulating live animals may require ethics approval. This requirement also applies to animals used in schools and school activities.

View the NZASE Code of Conduct for the use of animals.

The Schools Animal Ethics Committee was set up in 2005 to help schools, home schools and early childhood centres meet those legal requirements. To read an article explaining everything click here reproduced from Welfare Pulse Issue 5, July 2010.

Not all school projects involving animals require ethical approval from the Committee. For example simply observing behaviour of animals or recording the preferences cats and dogs have for using their right or left paws would not require approval. However most other animal related projects will require approval and proof of approval is usually required for entry into Science Fairs. For more information about whether a project requires approval click here.

The Approval Process

The Schools’ Animal Ethics Committee aims to make the process as easy and as educational as possible.

Students and teachers can apply to the Committee for approval:

  • Students – For individual student investigations, including those for Science Fairs, CREST Awards, Bright Sparks and other similar events approval is given for up to one year.
  • Teachers – For science, biology, equine, animal care, aquaculture and agriculture teaching approval is given for three years.

The Committee meets five times during the school year to consider applications. Please ensure that your application is submitted at least 2 weeks before the Committee meets. Approval is required before any work commences.

Apply for Animal Ethics approval

Meeting Dates

The 2019 meeting dates are:

  • 15 February
  • 15 April
  • 20 May
  • 17 June
  • 26 August

Applications can be sent by email to:

or by post to:

Schools’ Animal Ethics Committee,
PO Box 10122,

The Schools’ Animal Ethics Committee would appreciate any comments or further suggestions on this website. Please email them to