Code of conduct
The RSPCA recommends that schools draw up a code of conduct for studying animals in their natural habitats. For example:
- show respect for animals and the places where they live
- never handle animals – draw pictures or take photos instead
- move quietly and slowly so you do not disturb animals – and take care not to step on any animals that crawl/fly away
- leave animals’ homes exactly as you found them – if you turn over rocks and logs put them back the way you found them
- do not drop litter.
- Observing animals in captivity, including zoos, farm and safari parks, rescue centres and sanctuaries, raises a number of animal welfare questions:
- Are the animals behaving naturally?
- Are their needs being met?
- What are pupils learning about the animals and their needs from seeing them in captivity?
- We recommend using the following checklist before taking pupils to an animal venue:
- Visit the venue before the trip to assess animal welfare issues that may be raised and identify any health and safety considerations
- Ask pupils to think about the animals, their needs and their natural lifestyle before the visit. Identify what they will be looking for and why
- Draw up a code of conduct for the visit with pupils to ensure that disturbance to animals and their homes is kept to a minimum
- Highlight the animals’ needs and question whether they are being met throughout the visit – encourage pupils to focus on the quality of the animals’ environments
- Follow up any animal welfare issues raised after the visit.
See more ideas to make your school animal friendly or download the full version of our Animal-friendly schools guidance (PDF 369KB). A Welsh version (PDF 246KB) is also available.