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NAEAC 2001 Annual report released

15 July

A survey undertaken last year by the National Animal Ethics Committee (NAEAC) to determine the effectiveness of the animal ethics system received an excellent response.

Committee chairperson, Mrs Wyn Hoadley said the survey was extremely useful in identifying the training needs and requirements of the animal ethics committees (AECs) established to oversee any research, testing or teaching involving animals.

Mrs Hoadley in the 2001 NAEAC Annual Report released today said an essential function of the committee is to ensure that AECs are fully supported in their activities.

"Over the last five years NAEAC has devoted considerable effort to promoting the aims of the animal ethics system and the role of NAEAC. The AECs are an integral part of this system and it is important that the public and scientific community are confident they are fulfilling their role," she said.

A series of well-attended workshops was also held in May 2002 to help AECs to meet their obligations under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

Over the year, NAEAC issued two sets of guidelines to advise AECs on statutory monitoring requirements and the criteria required under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 when approving an animal ethics committee protocol application for a research, testing or teaching project.

Mrs Hoadley said another important achievement from the year was the nation-wide consultation NAEAC undertook with AECs on the collection of animal use statistics and the importance of retaining records.

From this consultation, the committee developed a set of recommendations that reflect what NAEAC believes to be in the best interests of animal welfare, public expectations of meaningful statistics and animal ethics committee system administration.

All research, testing, and teaching involving live animals in New Zealand must be carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

The Act requires that all such animal use must be conducted in accordance with an approved code of ethical conduct and be justified in terms of benefit to society and approved by institutional animal ethics committees.

A total of approximately 50 such committees exist in research institutions, universities, schools and private companies throughout the country.

These committees must include at least four members, three of which must be nominated by external agencies including a senior member of the organisation holding a code of ethical conduct, a representative from the New Zealand Veterinary Association, a representative from the Royal New Zealand SPCA (or similar welfare organisation), and a person nominated by a territorial authority or regional council.

NAEAC is an independent ministerial advisory committee established to advise the Minister of Agriculture on issues relating to the use of animals in research, testing or teaching.

Ends

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