[Note: This media release is issued on behalf of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC)]
The Massey-SPCA Desexing Clinic has been selected as this year's recipient of the inaugural Aotearoa New Zealand John Schofield 3Rs Implementation Award.
The 3Rs are guiding principles for the ethical use of animals in research, testing, and teaching. "The 3Rs promote the reduction and replacement of animals used in research, testing, and teaching, and the refinement of experimental techniques to minimise pain or distress," says NAEAC chair Grant Shackell.
"I am delighted to announce that the winner of this year's implementation award is the Massey-SPCA Desexing Clinic. The clinic has achieved a number of successful outcomes since it was launched over a year ago.
"There has been a reduction in the number of animals used for clinical training. The desexing programme has had a positive animal welfare impact, reducing the number of unwanted kittens. The clinic has also helped to raise awareness of the 3Rs.
"Veterinary students gain essential clinical experience while providing a valuable low-cost service to the community. Over the past year, 56 clinics have been held, over 225 students have been trained, and over 560 cats have been desexed. The programme has substantially reduced the intake of cats at the SPCA."
Working in partnership with SPCA Palmerston North and the Massey University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, the clinic was launched in August 2017 by Dr Carolyn Gates, senior lecturer in veterinary epidemiology.
Dr Kat Littlewood, a volunteer veterinarian at the clinic and postgraduate student at the School of Veterinary Science, received the $5,000 award on behalf of the clinic at a meeting in Wellington earlier today.
This is 1 of 2 awards which were launched by NAEAC in July this year. Applications for the Aotearoa New Zealand 3Rs Research Grant have been extended until 14 April 2019.
The awards are funded by AgResearch Ltd, the Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching, Lincoln University, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, Massey University, University of Otago and Victoria University of Wellington.
NAEAC is a statutory committee established under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 to provide independent advice to the Minister responsible for animal welfare on issues relating to the use of animals in research, testing and teaching. NAEAC actively encourages the application of the 3Rs principles in research, testing and teaching.