Animals in Schools | Record keeping

Record keeping

Animals in schools: Animal welfare guidelines for teachers describes the responsibilities of school staff that use animals. One of the responsibilities of the Animal Welfare Liaison Officer is to ensure that the school maintains appropriate records relating to the use of animals. Individual teachers should assist with the record keeping process by cooperating with the system that each school develops to suit their particular situation.

When the Schools Animal Care and Ethics Committee (SACEC) carries out school inspections, the visiting SACEC members assess the school ‘s animal care records, if necessary, recommending how they can be improved.

Good animal care records should assist in the monitoring and continuity of care of the school animals. All staff members must have access to the records and participate in their maintenance.


Good animal care records should document the following:

  • Date and source of acquisition of animals.
  • Date and method of disposal of animals.
  • Breeding records.
  • Date, name and dose of any chemical used, e.g. drenches, vaccines, topical treatments.
  • Date and brief description of any abnormal behaviour, injury or illness of any animal.
  • Date and type of any treatment provided for any animal, e.g. treatment of a wound.
  • Any act of vandalism, dog attack or outbreak of disease that affects the health of the school animals.

How this information is recorded may vary from school to school and is dependent on the type and number of animals kept by the school. The information recorded about a batch of broilers will be different to the information recorded about stud cattle.

For a batch of broilers it is adequate to record the date of acquisition, source of acquisition, date of disposal, method of disposal, any deaths during the period of production and any treatments provided for the birds. It would be unlikely that these records would include information about individually identified birds. Any treatments would most likely to involve the whole flock.

Ewe and lambs

In contrast, the information kept about stud cattle would be specific to individual animals. Individual animals would be acquired at different times from different sources, disposed of by a variety of methods at different times, have different husbandry activities performed on them dependent on their age and stage of production and have any treatments administered according to individual weights and needs.

How all this information is recorded varies greatly depending on the staff and school. A small number of schools keep quite complex computerised records while other schools maintain a diary that the teachers, farm assistant and even students can write in. All these record types are acceptable. The most important factor is they must suit the school situation and be able to work as simply as possible. They must be practical and they must be accessible by all staff who work with the school animals.


The records must not be kept in a teacher’s personal day book. The records should stay with the farm and become a part of the school resources.
The Schools Animal Welfare Officer has produced some examples of proformas that can be used for record keeping. These are only examples and can be adapted for individual schools as required.

Examples of how some schools maintain their animal care records can be selected and viewed from the left hand menu.

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