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26 September 2011
2010 National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) Annual Report Released
Notification of the numbers of animals used in research, testing and teaching were released today in the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) Annual Report.
A total of 242 149 animals were reported in 2010, a decrease of 18.5% compared to the previous year and the lowest number reported since the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act 1999. However, NAEAC Chairperson Dr Virginia Williams says that the rolling three year average is a truer reflection of animal use because of the way animal statistics are reported. This average is down 0.5% from 2009 and 2.9% from 2008.
The principal purposes of use were for husbandry and veterinary research; basic biological research; and testing the safety and efficiency of animal health products. The animals most commonly used were rodents, farm animals, and fish.
“A drop in the number of animals experiencing high or very high impact manipulations – down just over 19% - is always gratifying” says Dr Williams. “As a Committee, we are committed to the Three Rs – the reduction, refinement and replacement of the use of animals in life sciences. A significant aspect of our activity throughout the year involved supporting efforts to have the Three Rs embodied into practices that use animals.”
Dr Williams adds that it is also important to remember that any research, testing or teaching involving live animals in New Zealand must be carried out in accordance with the requirements of Part 6 of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 and must be approved by an Animal Ethics Committee (AEC).
AECs, whose membership must include three independent nominees from the New Zealand Veterinary Association, the Royal New Zealand SPCA and from local or regional councils, are required to ensure that any costs to the animals must be outweighed by the potential or actual benefits to be gained from the work.
Copies of NAEAC Annual Reports are available at http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/regs/animal-welfare/naeac/annual-reports or by request from email@example.com.
Lisa Gibbison, Senior Communications Adviser
Phone: 04 894 0432 or 029 894 0432