Hero photograph
Photo by Hilary Johnson

Use of animals in teaching and schools

Amanda Besley —

Animals are used in teaching for a variety of reasons. Most classroom animal use in New Zealand involves family pets brought to school for simple observation and behaviour studies and for learning the responsibilities of humane care.

Birds, cats, chickens, cows, dogs, eels, fish, frogs, goats, guinea pigs, horses, mice, mud crabs, rabbits, rats and sheep are among the animals used in New Zealand schools.

Dogs, rabbits, chickens and a rather handsome frog have all been a part of the fun with learning in Junior Science. The photos are just a small look at the interactions they have enjoyed.

Attitudes towards animals are formed early in life. For many students school may be the first place where they gain experience on how to handle and look after animals. The use of animals in schools provides students the opportunity to:

  • Have a shared pet.
  • Respect animals as living organisms.
  • Learn about animal welfare and how animals’ needs must be met
  • Understand the complexity of environmental interactions affecting animals.