Disposal of animals

Options for disposing of animals.

Return to source

Animals that have been obtained from farms, studs or other breeders can be returned to their source. This option may depend on the prior arrangements made and may depend on maintenance of routine health care, the season or other mutually agreed factors. Many schools have arrangements like this for cattle, sheep and goats. This arrangement may allow students to compete at shows or for schools to manage breeding programs. If suitable, animals can be returned prior to the Christmas school holidays to decrease numbers of animals requiring care over the hot summer months.

Release to the wild

Free-living animals should be released to the wild only on the advice of the relevant wildlife authority. Non-native, domesticated and cage-reared vertebrates of any kind must not be released to the wild.

Release of animals to students

Before any animal is taken home by a student, written permission, as well as evidence from the parents that the animal with be cared for adequately and responsibly, must be obtained by the teacher. This means that both students and parents are aware of the needs of the animal and can provide a safe, secure environment for it. This applies to both long-term care as well as the temporary release of animals for care during weekends and school holidays.


Animals may die at school through illness, injury or old age. Any animal that dies at school needs to be disposed of in a way that is appropriate to the type of animal, the facilities of the school and the local ordinances.

The onus is on the school to determine the likely cause of death of any animal that dies unexpectedly. If an animal unexpectedly dies at school it may be appropriate to have a post mortem carried out by a qualified person to determine the cause of death. This must be carried out using the appropriate equipment and with care taken to prevent the transmission of any zoonotic diseases.

Students’ sensitivities should be considered when dealing with the death of all school animals.


Animals may be sold to appropriate purchasers. Native animals may only be sold to purchasers holding an appropriate licence, issued by the Office of Environment and Heritage.

Production animals that have been raised as a source of meat can be sold to a registered processing facility or sent to a registered processing facility to enable the school to sell the meat. It is illegal to kill any animal and sell the meat for human consumption unless it has been slaughtered and prepared in a licensed processing facility.

All sheep, cattle, goats and alpacas must only be sold to persons with a Property Identification Code (PIC) and the movement must be recorded on NLIS database.

Note: Animals are not considered to be appropriate objects for prizes or raffles.


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