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. The Schools Animal Ethics Committee was set up in 2005 to help schools, home schools and early childhood centres meet those legal requirements. View the NZASE Code of Conduct for the use of animals.

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. Student Application Form Please ensure this form is sent to the Animal Ethics Committee at least two weeks prior to next Animal Ethics Committee meeting date.

  • Teachers – For science, biology, equine, animal care, aquaculture and agriculture teaching approval is given for three years. Teacher Application Form Please ensure this form is sent to the Animal Ethics Committee at least two weeks prior to next Animal Ethics Committee meeting date.

Once your application has been approved you will be sent approval stickers. These are so you are able to demonstrate you have animal ethics approval and can enter into a science fair or for a science award.

Any science project that involves animals MUST have an animal ethics approval sticker on display.