Providing students the opportunity to interact with animals in a structured, educational way can be a valuable life lesson and experience. Certain animals can be part of the educational setting as classroom pets and through educational visits and scientific observation, though care and consideration must first be given to the welfare of the animals. If you are an educator considering bringing animals into the classroom, the BC SPCA's position statements on animals in education, as well as profiles of common classroom pets, can help you in making informed, humane decisions.
Read more about the potential value of classroom animals and the role of the teacher as a humane role model.
BC SPCA position on animals in education
The BC SPCA has developed the following position statements on the use of animals for educational purposes.
Hatching and Breeding
Student Science Projects
How to pick the right classroom animal
Small animals commonly kept in classrooms include domesticated rats and mice, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, turtles and wild animals such as snakes and frogs. None of these is without drawbacks, and some should never be kept as classroom pets.
If you are considering bringing a pet into your classroom, these brief profiles of common classroom pets, including pros and cons with an eye to classroom suitability, can help you in making the right choice.
The BC SPCA position statement on classroom pets outlines all of the conditions under which the BC SPCA condones the keeping of domesticated animals in schools. These include the condition that the teacher and, when necessary, a second adult caregiver take sole responsibilty for the care and welfare of the animal. This includes care over the weekend, holidays and school breaks.