Unit of competency details

ACMGAS103A - Assist in the care of animals (Release 2)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to ACMGAS103 - Assist in the care of animalsUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages 28/Nov/2017

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
2 (this release) 09/Mar/2012
(View details for release 1) 11/Nov/2010


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050105 Animal Husbandry  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050105 Animal Husbandry  11/Nov/2010 
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Modification History

March 2012: Minor typographical corrections.

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit of competency covers introductory level skills in the basic care of quiet, well-handled animals under supervision.

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

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This is an introductory unit for those with little or no experience working with animals in commercial or professional animal care settings with the emphasis on working with and handling quiet, well-handled domestic animals under supervision and complying with animal care requirements to ensure animal and human health and safety.

In addition to legal and ethical responsibilities, all units of competency in the ACM10 Animal Care and Management Training Package have the requirement for animals to be handled gently and calmly. The individual is required to exhibit appropriate care for animals so that stress and discomfort is minimised.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Prerequisite units 

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Explore workplace activities and basic terminology

1.1. Industry terminology is used to describe and identify animal care workplace activities.

1.2. Animal care workplace tasks  are identified and ranked in order of importance to animal wellbeing and general health.

1.3. Potential occupational health and safety  (OHS ) risks  when working with animals are identified and reporting requirements confirmed.

1.4. Daily workplace information and documentation  requirements are confirmed with supervisor.

2. Maintain a clean workplace

2.1. Floors benches and other flat areas are cleaned in accordance with workplace protocols.

2.2. Animal housing areas are cleaned in accordance with workplace protocols.

2.3. Waste and soiled bedding is disposed of in accordance with workplace protocols.

3. Assist in feeding animals

3.1. Food stuffs are identified and categorised for specific animal dietary needs.

3.2. Equipment used in food preparation and distribution is made ready for use.

3.3. Assistance is provided to experienced staff in the preparation and distribution of meals.

3.4. Equipment and materials are cleaned and stored in accordance with organisational policies and procedures.

4. Report basic animal behaviour and health status

4.1. Characteristics of animal behaviour  are identified.

4.2. Signs of healthy, sick or distressed animals are identified and behaviour and health status is reported to supervisor.

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • employ safe and environmentally responsible organisational systems and procedures when handling animals and feed
  • document and report basic workplace information related to the daily care of animals
  • maintain the highest standards of hygiene and infection control at all times to reduce the risk of infection and cross-infection
  • participate in arrangements for maintaining the health and safety of all people and animals in the workplace
  • undertake work with animals as directed under supervision
  • use equipment and materials correctly and in accordance with manufacturers' specifications
  • numeracy skills to estimate, calculate and record routine workplace measures
  • oral communication skills/language to fulfil the job role as specified by the organisation, including questioning, active listening, asking for clarification and seeking advice from supervisor
  • interpersonal skills to work with and relate to people from a range of cultural, social and religious backgrounds
  • problem-solving skills to select required materials and equipment and prioritise tasks
  • use safe manual handling techniques and/or equipment
  • use safe waste handling and disposal procedures.

Required knowledge 

  • animal temperaments and behaviours related to the associated hazards and risks to animals and staff during animal feeding and cleaning of housing
  • basic awareness of natural animal behaviour relating to the characteristics of the species, age, health status and social needs
  • basic nutritional requirements for animals, including water
  • cleaning techniques and related safety issues for general workplace and animal housing
  • principles of animal welfare and ethics
  • processes that support environment and resource efficiencies
  • relevant organisational policies and procedures, including OHS and emergency procedures, animal welfare and waste disposal requirements
  • safe work practices
  • storage, preparation and presentation requirements for food
  • types of food and food supplements and their basic role in animal diets
  • types of information that has to be reported and recorded in animal care workplaces
  • workplace hygiene standards, disinfectants, cleaning agents, cleaning techniques and cleaning equipment and materials.

Evidence Guide


The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

The evidence required to demonstrate competence in this unit must be relevant to workplace operations and satisfy all of the requirements of the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge and the range statement of this unit. Assessors should ensure that candidates can:

  • confirm industry terminology used to describe daily work routines and to report observations and activities to supervisor
  • clean work areas and animal housing in accordance with OHS and organisation policies and procedures
  • assist in the preparation and distribution of food under supervision
  • relate basic animal behaviour to animal categories and report observations of live animal behaviour and health status to supervisor.

The skills and knowledge required to assist in the care of animals must be transferable to a range of work environments and contexts and include the ability to deal with unplanned events.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment of this unit is to be practical in nature and will most appropriately be assessed in an animal care workplace or in a situation that reproduces normal work conditions. Workplaces can include pet shops, breeding or boarding kennels and catteries, aviaries, companion animal training, grooming establishments, domestic animal zoos, mobile animal facilities and veterinary practices.

There must be access to a range of quiet, well-handled domestic animals as well as relevant information, equipment and/or resources to enable one to demonstrate competence.

Method of assessment 

To ensure consistency in one's performance, competency should be demonstrated on more than one occasion over a period of time in order to cover a variety of circumstances and where possible, over a number of assessment activities.

Suggested strategies for this unit are:

  • written and/or oral assessment of candidate's required knowledge
  • observed, documented and first-hand testimonial evidence of candidate's application of practical tasks
  • simulation exercises that reproduce normal work conditions
  • third-party evidence
  • portfolio.

This unit may be assessed in a holistic way with other units of competency relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role.

Guidance information for assessment 

Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands (e.g. literacy and numeracy demands) and the needs of particular target groups (e.g. people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, people with a language background other than English, youth and people from low socioeconomic backgrounds).

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Animal care workplace tasks  may include:

  • assisting in heath care of animals
  • enclosure and bed cleaning and bedding replacement
  • equipment and consumables stocktake and ordering
  • exercising animals
  • feeding and watering animals
  • following environmentally sustainable work practices
  • grooming and animal cleaning
  • information collection, record and resource update
  • observing animal behaviour and reporting
  • taking messages and relaying information to appropriate person
  • cleaning workplace and equipment.

OHS risks  when working with animals may include:

  • animal bites, envenomation, kicks, scratches and crush injuries
  • biological hazardous waste and sharps disposal
  • handling of chemicals and medicines
  • gas leakage
  • inhalation of aerosol particles
  • intraocular contamination
  • manual handling, including carrying, lifting and shifting
  • needle pricks and cuts from other sharps
  • release of infective agents (animal and human)
  • slippery or uneven work surfaces
  • zoonoses.

Daily workplace information and documentation  may include:

  • accident and incident records
  • animal feeding, health and treatment records
  • animal identification and history
  • OHS and emergency procedures and contact information
  • equipment inventory, damage and repairs registers
  • provisions records of current stock and items used and items required
  • staff work roster.

Characteristics of animal behaviour  may include:

  • indicators of stress:
  • aggressive behaviour
  • subdued behaviour
  • trembling
  • vocalisation
  • confidence and willingness to be approached gestures:
  • relaxed body tone and tail wagging
  • standing still or remaining sitting or laying down when approached
  • defensive gestures:
  • defending territory, other animals or food
  • growling, barking, hissing and spitting
  • hair on topline being raised
  • lunging forward
  • pecking
  • striking out with paws
  • submissive gestures:
  • lowering body
  • rolling onto back
  • tail between legs
  • turning away from handler.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit sector 

General animal studies

Competency field

Competency field 

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units