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18 August 2005
The notification of a decrease in the numbers of animals used in
research, testing and teaching was released today, in the National Animal
Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) Annual Report.
The 2004 year saw a reduction of animals used by 23.3 percent from the
previous year. This is the lowest number since 1997 when 220,990 animals
were used. The 2004 figure of 246,122 animals is also below the long-term
average of 273,464.
The animal types most commonly used in 2004 were mice, sheep, cattle,
and rats. Mice, sheep and cattle have all been included in the four most
commonly used animals since 1989.
Of the reduction in animal use, fish, cattle and possum figures dropped
significantly, with drops of 59,628, 7,692 and 6,336 animals respectively.
A large scale, one-year project involving 50,000 glass eels, completed in
2003, accounted for the drop in fish numbers. Several long-term projects
involving large number of possums were also completed in the previous
year. The reason for the 14 percent drop in cattle numbers is less
obvious. There were decreases in the number of cattle used for teaching,
husbandry, medical and veterinary research and an increase in cattle used
for basic biological research.
A key function of NAEAC is to provide independent advice to the
Minister of Agriculture on ethical and animal welfare issues arising from
the use of animals in research, testing and teaching.
Chairperson, Wyn Hoadley, said all research, testing or teaching
involving live animals in New Zealand must be carried out in accordance
with the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 and must be approved
by an Animal Ethics Committee (AEC).
"The Act requires every code holder to establish and maintain an AEC,
to which NAEAC provides information and advice," she said.
The AECs are an important part of the approval process set by the Act
to ensure that the use of animals in research, testing and teaching is
carried out in accordance with the Act and the principles of the 'Three Rs'.
There were 37 AECs in operation as at 31 December 2004.
Through its strategic planning, NAEAC has continued to promote the
concepts of humane science and continues to pursue improvements by
encouraging alternative non-animal testing when possible. This is
supported by NAEAC's promotion of the 'Three Rs', which encourage:
This is the fifth Annual Report since the National Animal Ethics
Advisory Committee (NAEAC) became a statutory committee in 1999. A copy of
the report is available at www.biosecurity.govt.nz/regs/animal-welfare/naeac/annual-reports
For hard copies contact the Animal Welfare Group on 04-474-4129
Media Contact: MAF Communications Adviser Joseph Wallace (04) 498 9637
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