Animal welfare – lessons and activities

Lesson sequence and suggested activities.

Lesson sequence

Note: The ‘theme’ areas will vary in length according to the amount of content. There may be one or more lessons of work within each theme. Please use teacher judgement when using this information for lesson planning. Themes can be taught consecutively or independently of each other.

Syllabus content

Core A

  • Evaluate intensive and extensive production systems
  • Investigate procedures in the management of plants and animals within animal welfare guidelines
  • Investigate the social and ethical issues that affect the chosen animal enterprises
  • Collect accurate evidence and record relevant data relating to the animal enterprise

Core B

  • Compare alternative production techniques for a chosen agricultural system or enterprise
  • Investigate Australian animal welfare codes and their effect on the management of intensive and extensive systems
  • Examine and analyse data from a range of sources

Theme 1: What is animal welfare?

The aim of this theme is for students to gain an understanding that knowledge and skills underpins good animal welfare. While good animal welfare does encompass respect and empathy for animals, it relies on science and experience to inform it.

It is also important for students to understand that there are varying views in society about how animals should be used, and that there is a difference between animal welfare and animal rights.

Hints and tips

Students will have a range of attitudes and experiences related to the use of animals. It is most important that students are encouraged to learn about the behavioural and physical needs of animals and develop informed views about their use.


NSW DPI Egg production systems in Australia


  1. Create a diagrammatic representation of characteristics considered in the management and care of layer hens.
  2. Investigate and articulate acceptable and unacceptable uses of animals.
  3. Investigate poultry production systems.
  4. Discuss applying the five needs of animal welfare (nutritional, environmental, health, behavioural, mental).

Theme 2: Animal welfare legislation

Laws, codes, and guidelines about how animals can be treated reflect the values and ethics of our society. They reflect what we think is humane treatment of animals.

There are many different pieces of legislation that indirectly relate to the treatment and use of animals. The summary presented in the Animal welfare legislation section of this resource includes those that have the most impact on the use of animals in schools. The NSW Animals in Schools website interprets these pieces of legislation for schools.


Websites and videos:


Complete research questions on relevant animal welfare legislation.

Theme 3: Poultry and animal welfare

The activities included within this theme allow students to put their knowledge and understanding about animal welfare and legislation into practice. Through learning about specific poultry behaviours, students are able to assess the school facilities and enterprise environment to ensure that the five welfare needs of poultry are being accommodated. Students will use observational skills and data collection to evaluate the system and propose recommendations to the teacher to improve animal welfare for poultry at the school.

Hints and tips

The activities outlined within this theme range from classroom theory-based lessons to practical activities involving poultry. Prior to any handling of animals for these activities, teachers should take the time to explicitly teach students correct handling techniques that are safe for both the student and animal being caught and held. Students should also be taught about hygiene procedures prior to and after handling animals.


  • Access to the poultry enclosure(s) at the school
  • Poultry feed
  • Measuring tools, for example, tape measures, trundle wheels or rulers, weight scales
  • Tools to measure temperature, for example, data loggers, minimum maximum thermometers, electronic weather station

Websites and videos:

Poultry behaviour.


  1. Complete poultry behaviour video and questions.
  2. Complete animal data collection.
  3. Conduct observation of a flock.
  4. Analyse poultry behaviour in the school flock.
  5. Research the environmental requirements for poultry pens
  6. Assess the school poultry pen.


  • Skills
  • Stage 5
  • Teaching and learning


  • Agriculture and Environmental Management
  • Animal Care and Management

Business Unit:

  • Curriculum and Reform
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