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31 August 1998
The reduction in the use of live animals in research, testing and teaching is a global trend which New Zealand’s National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) is committed to.
NAEAC has recorded a reduction in New Zealand of the use of more than 40,000 experimental animals used largely by universities and crown research institutes.
"There has been a change in thinking about the use of animals for scientific and teaching purposes which can be accredited to the readiness of many professionals working in the teaching and research area to endorse the change," says Keith Robinson, NAEAC chairman.
"It would be too much to expect that all members of the scientific community embrace the changes, but what is heartening is that recent graduates in animal based sciences regard satisfying ethical standards as a natural part of their work, rather than some added burden to be avoided if possible."
The reduction in the use of live animals is one of the issues highlighted in the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee’s 1997 annual report released today.
The National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee provides independent, quality advice to the Minister of Agriculture on policy and practices relating to the use of animals in research, testing, teaching or the production of biological agents.
Committee members are appointed in a personal capacity, but are nominated by national bodies from a variety of disciplines, including the education sector, local government, research groups, veterinarians, health researchers and the RNZSPCA. Members are appointed for a three year term. The committee was established in 1984 but it was not until 1987 that the regulations under which it operates were made.
The New Zealand Animals Protection (Codes of Ethical Conduct) Regulations govern what researchers using animals can and cannot do. In New Zealand researchers and institutions, such as schools, universities and private sector companies submit codes of ethical conduct to NAEAC, which considers whether they should be approved by the Minister of Agriculture.
In December 1997, 87 New Zealand organisations had approved codes of ethical conduct to carry out research on animals, with a total of 42 animal ethics committees overseeing this work.
For further information contact:
Keith Robinson, NAEAC chairman, phone: 04 4953457 or fax: 04 495 3458
For a copy of the annual report contact:
Kate Horrey, NAEAC Secretary, PO Box 2526, Wellington, or phone: 04 474 4296 or fax: 04 474 4133