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Statistics for 2016 from the Ministry for Primary Industries show that more than quarter of a million animals were subjected to testing - a 13 percent jump from the year before. Yet it’s estimated that this figure represents only around half of all animals suffering in NZ facilities. Many more spend their short lives in a small plastic container in a vivisector’s breeding unit before being killed and disposed of as excess to requirements.

Whilst the figures themselves are shocking, the absurd categorisation of animal suffering shows a complete lack of compassion by both the experimenters and the regulators. A rat classed as only experiencing "little impact" could have been fed via a tube forced down his throat every day for months or years, or a calf could have been deliberately infected with parasites. Causing chronic lameness in sheep, opening up the chest cavity of a dog, and exposing pigs to extreme degrees of hot or cold to the point of collapse are considered to only have a “moderate impact”. The classification of animals suffering “very high impact” is incomprehensible.

Refinement and reduction are not enough. More and more countries are now recognising that exciting approaches such as organs-on-a-chip, three-dimensional human skin cultures, and computer models can predict far more accurately what will happen in humans than experiments on other animals do. We must stop throwing taxpayer money at ineffective methods that promise only continued suffering and instead pioneer a future with animal-free science that holds genuine hope for curing human ailments.

Desmond Bellamy
Special Projects Coordinator
PETA Australia

ends

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