Otago Polytechnic receives award for humane use of animals in teaching

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Otago Polytechnic's School of Veterinary Nursing has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) 3Rs award.

The School receives the award in recognition of their commitment to implementing strategies which replace, reduce and refine animal use across all their teaching programmes while still meeting the needs of their students.

"The concept of the 3Rs, from which the award takes its name, is to replace and reduce the number of animals used in research, testing and teaching, and to refine experimental and teaching techniques that minimise pain or distress when housing, caring for and handling the animals that are used," says NAEAC Chair Mr Grant Shackell.

"By using mannequins and simulation models to replace animals and video resources to reduce animal use for teaching, the School now uses significantly fewer animals in its formal teaching programmes. The School has also developed an assessment programme based on video that students have recorded during clinical placement and work experience, which allows them to demonstrate their competency in animal handling and husbandry in a less stressful, non-classroom environment. Teaching staff have also undertaken training and certification in low stress handling techniques and have then been able to impart those skills to students."

"The School's philosophy when using animals is one of minimal restraint, positive reinforcement and allowing the animal to drive the interactions."

Royal New Zealand SPCA Acting Chief Executive Andrea Midgen says the SPCA is proud to support the award, which significantly contributes to promoting the concept of the 3Rs within the scientific community and to the wider public.

This national award is co-ordinated by NAEAC and is made to an individual, group or institution within New Zealand that epitomises best practice with regard to the 3Rs.

Catherine Rice, Programme Coordinator, received the award on behalf of the School at a meeting in Wellington earlier this morning.

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