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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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Instruction in the humane treatment of animals
Education (EDN) CHAPTER 16, TITLE 1, ARTICLE 17
§ 809. Instruction in the humane treatment of animals. 1. The officer,
board or commission authorized or required to prescribe courses of
instruction shall cause instruction to be given in every elementary
school under state control or supported wholly or partly by public money
of the state, in the humane treatment and protection of animals and the
importance of the part they play in the economy of nature as well as the
necessity of controlling the proliferation of animals which are
subsequently abandoned and caused to suffer extreme cruelty. Such
instruction shall be for such period of time during each school year as
the board of regents may prescribe and may be joined with work in
literature, reading, language, nature study or ethnology. Such weekly
instruction may be divided into two or more periods. A school district
shall not be entitled to participate in the public school money on
account of any school or the attendance at any school subject to the
provisions of this section, if the instruction required hereby is not
given therein.

2. Study and care of live animals. Any school which cares for or uses
animals for study shall ensure that each animal in such school be
afforded the following: appropriate quarters; sufficient space for the
normal behavior and postural requirements of the species; proper
ventilation, lighting, and temperature control; adequate food and clean
drinking water; and quarters which shall be cleaned on a regular basis
and located in an area where undue stress and disturbance are minimized.

3. Application. The provisions of this section shall not be construed
to prohibit or constrain vocational instruction in the normal practice
of animal husbandry, or prohibit or constrain instruction in
environmental education activities as established by the department of
environmental conservation.

4. Dissection of animals. Any student expressing a moral or religious
objection to the performance or witnessing of the dissection of an
animal, either wholly or in part, shall be provided the opportunity to
undertake and complete an alternative project that shall be approved by
such student's teacher; provided, however, that such objection is
substantiated in writing by the student's parent or legal guardian.
Students who perform alternative projects who do not perform or witness
the dissection of animals shall not be penalized. The board of education
or trustees of a school district shall develop a policy to give
reasonable notice to all students enrolled in a course that includes the
dissection of an animal and students' parents or legal guardians about
their rights under this subdivision. Such notice shall be made available
upon request at the school and distributed to parents and students
enrolled in a course that includes dissection at least once at the
beginning of the school year.

5. Treatment of live vertebrate animals. a. Except as provided for in
this subdivision, no school district, school principal, administrator,
or teacher shall require or permit the performance of a lesson or
experimental study on a live vertebrate animal in any such school or
during any activity conducted under the auspices of such school whether
or not the activity takes place on the premises of such school where
such lesson or experimental study employs: (i) micro-organisms which
cause disease in humans or animals, (ii) ionizing radiation, (iii) known
cancer producing agents, (iv) chemicals at toxic levels, (v) drugs
producing pain or deformity, (vi) severe extremes of temperature, (vii)
electric or other shock, (viii) excessive noise, (ix) noxious fumes, (x)
exercise to exhaustion, (xi) overcrowding, (xii) paralysis by muscle
relaxants or other means, (xiii) deprivation or excess of food, water or
other essential nutrients, (xiv) surgery or other invasive procedures,
(xv) other extreme stimuli, or (xvi) termination of life.

b. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of this section, the
commissioner may, upon the submission of a written program plan, issue
to such school a written waiver of such restrictions for students
subject to the following provisions: (i) the student shall be in grade
ten, eleven, or twelve; and (ii) the student shall be under the
supervision of one or more teachers certified in science; and (iii) the
student shall be pursuing an accelerated course of study in the sciences
as defined by the commissioner in preparation for taking a state or
national advanced placement examination. The commissioner shall issue a
waiver of such restrictions for any teacher certified in science
instructing such student. The written program plan shall include, but
not be limited to: (i) the educational basis for requesting a waiver;
(ii) the objective of the lesson or experiment; (iii) the methods and
techniques to be used; and (iv) any other information required by the

6. Report. On or before the first day of January next succeeding the
effective date of this amended section, the commissioner shall annually
submit a report to the governor and the legislature which shall include,
but not be limited to, the number of written program plan proposals
submitted by schools and the number of such proposals subsequently
approved by the commissioner. In those cases where a program plan
proposal has been approved by the commissioner, such plan shall be
appended to and become a part of the commissioner's annual report.