Massey University scientist recognised for contribution to animal welfare research

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14 November 2014

Media release on behalf of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee

A Massey University scientist has been honoured for his work in refining the ways animals are used in scientific research, testing and teaching.

The 2014 National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) Three Rs Award, sponsored by the Royal New Zealand SPCA, was presented to Professor David Mellor in recognition of his contribution to humane science in New Zealand and the practical application of the Three Rs.

“The concept of the Three Rs, from which the award takes its name, is to replace and reduce the number of animals used in research, testing and teaching, and refine experimental techniques to minimise pain or distress,”  says NAEAC Deputy Chair Dr Peter Larsen.

“Professor Mellor’s development of the ‘Five Domains’ model has extended our concept of refinement and provided the animal welfare community with a tool to assess not only the physical wellbeing of animals, but also their emotional and mental states.

“The model measures animals’ welfare from a much broader point of view and recognises the importance of not only minimising negative impacts to animals, but also promoting positive welfare outcomes,” says Dr Larsen.

Royal New Zealand SPCA Chief Executive, Ric Odom, says the SPCA is proud to sponsor the award, which significantly contributes to promoting the concept of the Three Rs within the scientific community and to the wider public.

“Before an animal is used in research, teaching or testing, the benefits of that activity need to be considered against any harm that animal experiences – and Professor Mellor’s work has been integral to how that’s considered, both in New Zealand and internationally,” he says.

The Three Rs award is coordinated by NAEAC and made annually to an individual, group, or institution within New Zealand that best of embodies the principles of the Three Rs.

The award was presented to Professor Mellor at a workshop for animal ethics committees in Wellington this week.

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