Unit of competency details

ACMBEH301 - Identify behaviours and interact safely with animals (Release 1)


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1 1 (this release) 13/Apr/2021


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Unit Of competency

Modification History



Release 1

This version released with ACM Animal Care and Management Training Package Version 4.0.


This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to identify and interpret behaviour and safely handle, interact and respond to animals in a range of animal care facilities and environments. It can be applied to a range of animal species.

This unit applies to individuals who are required to handle and interact with animals in close proximity in an animal care workplace. They work independently and take responsibility for the quality of their own work, including carrying out assigned tasks, solving routine problems and working to required timeframes.

All work must be carried out to comply with workplace procedures according to Commonwealth and state/territory health and safety and animal welfare regulations, legislation and standards that apply to the workplace.

No licensing, legislative or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Pre-requisite Unit


Unit Sector

Behaviour and Training (BEH)

Elements and Performance Criteria


Performance Criteria

Elements describe the essential outcomes.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element.

1. Prepare for interaction with animal

1.1 Assess environment and establish a safe and secure environment for interacting with animals according to workplace policies and procedures

1.2 Obtain information about the animal from relevant sources to inform approach to animal

1.3 Identify hazards and infection control procedures, and minimise risks to self, other people and animals

1.4 Select and correctly fit personal protective equipment appropriate for animal interaction

1.5 Prepare equipment for securing the animal if required

2. Identify and interpret animal behaviour

2.1 Identify animal by species or breed group, physical characteristics and visible identification

2.2 Recognise common behavioural traits for the species or breed group

2.3 Observe animal body language and other signs to interpret the animal's likely emotional state, arousal level, and likely motivations for the behaviour observed

2.4 Identify individual animal triggers, stressors or species-specific behaviours that may impact on behaviour and pose potential safety risks

2.5 Choose appropriate low stress handling techniques based on observation of the animal's behaviour

3. Move animal safely and securely

3.1 Check other animals are safe and secure prior to moving the animal

3.2 Approach and move around animal in a calm and non-threatening manner

3.3 Move animal or remove from enclosure using low stress handling techniques

3.4 Secure animal safely in suitable environment using humane restraints, if required, according to workplace requirements

3.5 Prepare and load animal for transport, where required, ensuring safe restraints or housing according to species and workplace requirements

4. Handle animals for intended activity

4.1 Use species-appropriate low stress techniques and equipment to safely secure, position and manage animal

4.2 Adjust handling based on situation, individual animal and its responses to being handled

4.3 Undertake intended activity ensuring personal and animal safety, and minimising animal stress

4.4 Follow workplace procedures for hygiene and sanitation after handling the animal

4.5 Provide feedback, using objective descriptions of animal behaviour, to relevant team members according to workplace procedures

4.6 Update animal records in workplace record-keeping system

Foundation Skills

This section describes those language, literacy, numeracy and employment skills that are essential for performance in this unit of competency but are not explicit in the performance criteria.




  • Interpret information accurately from documents related to species and/or breed and physical characteristics and behaviour


  • Use industry terminology when completing records

Oral communication

  • Use questioning and active listening to confirm and clarify understanding


  • Estimate and calculate volume, weight, area, ratio and time

Unit Mapping Information

Code and title current version

Code and title previous version


Equivalence status

ACMBEH301 Identify behaviours and interact safely with animals

Not applicable

Unit created to address an emerging skill required by industry

Newly created


Companion Volumes, including Implementation Guides, are available at VETNet: - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=b75f4b23-54c9-4cc9-a5db-d3502d154103


Assessment requirements

Modification History



Release 1

This version released with ACM Animal Care and Management Training Package Version 4.0.

Performance Evidence

An individual demonstrating competency must satisfy all of the elements and performance criteria in this unit.

There must be evidence that the individual has:

  • identified and interpreted common animal behaviour, including body language for two different species or breed groups
  • described the behaviour, using objective behavioural terminology, and the approach to handling or interacting with three animals experiencing different emotional states, including:
  • an animal showing defensive and fearful behaviour
  • an animal that is calm
  • used safe and low stress handling techniques and equipment, including personal protective equipment (PPE) to interact with, restrain, move and/or handle at least two different animals to carry out an activity, selected from two of the following:
  • one animal requiring two people to manually lift or move
  • one animal to be handled, lifted and/or moved independently
  • one small and/or fragile animal to be handled or moved
  • one animal to be handled or moved in an activity undertaken in close proximity with the handler
  • one animal to be moved into or out of an enclosure.

Knowledge Evidence

An individual must be able to demonstrate the knowledge required to perform the tasks outlined in the elements and performance criteria of this unit. This includes knowledge of:

  • how to identify animals by:
  • species and breed
  • physical characteristics, including colour and sex
  • common forms of visual identification
  • common species-specific behaviour traits and factors that influence behaviour, including genetics, health, environment, current situation/context and previous learning
  • core emotional states in animals, including positive, neutral and negative states
  • concept of anthropomorphism
  • species-specific body language and signs, including:
  • gross and fine movements and vocalisation (where relevant to species)
  • coping behaviours
  • how to recognise and respond to behaviours that are potentially unsafe
  • carer-animal relationship and its effect on the animal's behaviour
  • basic concepts for influencing or directing animal movement, including:
  • body positioning
  • clear instruction or cues
  • species-specific holding or restraint techniques
  • use of positive reinforcers
  • flight zone, pressure zone and point of balance
  • safe, low stress and humane species-specific handling techniques and equipment
  • hazards and risks associated with handling and interacting with animals, including:
  • injuries, including bites, scratches and manual handling
  • infectious diseases and zoonoses
  • compatibility of different animals
  • purpose of PPE items, including footwear, gloves and protective clothing
  • common activities undertaken in animal care sectors, including for:
  • health, hygiene and sanitation/infection control
  • grooming
  • medical procedures
  • manual lifting/moving of animals
  • key principles of animal welfare and ethics relevant to handling and interacting with animals
  • key requirements of health and safety legislation for work undertaken in animal care environments.

Assessment Conditions

Assessment of the skills in this unit of competency must take place under the following conditions:

  • physical conditions:
  • an animal care workplace or an environment that accurately represents workplace conditions
  • resources, equipment and materials:
  • live animals as specified in the performance evidence
  • videos of animal behaviour where relevant aspects of behaviour cannot be observed with live animals
  • equipment and resources appropriate to work being undertaken in an animal care environment, including PPE
  • specifications:
  • workplace policies and procedures related to safety and low stress handling/interaction with animals.

Assessors of this unit must satisfy the requirements for assessors in applicable vocational education and training legislation, frameworks and/or standards.


Companion Volumes, including Implementation Guides, are available at VETNet: - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=b75f4b23-54c9-4cc9-a5db-d3502d154103