The Animal Welfare officer for NSW DET schools has indicated ‘that there are no implications under the animal welfare policies for this activity. Your school, however, will need to seek its own advice about the legal issue of using surveillance cameras in the school’1. Contact should be made with the legal department in your specific jurisdiction.
The activity you describe involves the observation of animals in their natural environment and does not involve the capture or handling of any animal. Minimal disturbance might only be due to a flash, if used with the camera.
Consideration should be given to the location and position of the camera to avoid any privacy issues.
- Ensure that the camera does not film neighbouring houses or yards.
- Ensure that the camera is not active during school hours to avoid inadvertently filming students or staff. The use of a timer may assist.
The use of animals in all primary and secondary schools in the government and non-government sectors in NSW is governed by the Animal Research Act 1985 (NSW) and the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes2. All animals in NSW are also protected by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW).
The establishment of the Animals in schools website provides advice to all schools in all sectors in NSW. Here you will find information on the following aspects for your consideration.
- The Schools Animal Care and Ethics Committee (SACEC), which has been established to assist schools to monitor the use of animals for teaching purposes and to comply with the Animal Research Act 1985 (NSW).
- Approved activities.
- Application forms.
- Educational justification.
- Specific species kept in schools and their handling, housing, feeding and health requirements.
- Specific issues with acquiring, dissecting, disposal and security of animals.
1 Personal communication, TAS Advisor and Animal Welfare Officer. Learning and Teaching Directorate, NSW Department of Education, 4 April 2016
2 ‘Animals in schools’, Animals in schools website, http://nswschoolanimals.com/ (Accessed April 2016)
‘Animal Research Act 1985 No 123’, NSW Government, NSW Legislation website, http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/viewtop/inforce/act+123+1985+FIRST+0+N/ (15 January 2016)
‘Animal Welfare in a DET Context’ NSW Department of Education and Communities website, https://education.nsw.gov.au/policy-library/policies/animal-welfare-poli... (Updated December 2016)
Meek, Paul; Ballard, Guy; Fleming, Peter. 2012. An introduction to camera trapping for wildlife surveys in Australia, NSW Department of Primary Industries: Orange, Pestsmart website, http://www.pestsmart.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/CameraTrapManual_2012.pdf
National Health and Medical Research Council. 2013. Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 8th edition. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council, NHMRC website, http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/ea28_code_...
‘Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 No 200’ NSW Government, NSW Legislation website, http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/viewtop/inforce/act+200+1979+FIRST+0+N...(15 January 2016)