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Time to lift veil of secrecy on animal experiments


4 October 2002

Time to lift veil of secrecy on animal experiments

Green Animal Welfare spokesperson Sue Kedgley said a culture of secrecy surrounding animal experiments was stifling public debate, contributing to public disquiet about animal experimentation, and keeping New Zealanders in the dark about the nature and extent of experimentation on live animals.

"Its time to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding animal experimentation in New Zealand, and develop a much more open, transparent and accountable system which enables informed debate about the experimentation on animals," she said.

Sue Kedgley was the guest speaker at an Animal Rights Legal Advocacy Network seminar at Auckland University today.

"Animal experiments are hidden behind a wall of secrecy. Animal Ethics Committees which approve experiments are conducted in secret, the agendas and minutes of their meetings are kept secret, and it is almost impossible for members of the public to find out what experiments are taking place around New Zealand, and why."

Ms Kedgley said that 75 per cent of animal experiments in New Zealand were conducted in publicly owned institutions such as government departments, Crown Research Institutes and universities, and were paid for by taxpayers.

"Surely, as taxpayers we are entitled to know whether our tax dollars have been spent wisely and ethically?

"Surely we are entitled to know what is going on in laboratories around New Zealand, why Animal Ethics Committee meetings are closed to the public and whether or not all the experiments on animals that are taking place are justified," she said.

"If animal-based scientists are to retain public support for their activities, there needs to be a high level of acceptance that their use of animals is both humane and responsible. Such public acceptance depends on scientists conducting themselves in a manner that generates trust."

Ms Kedgley said she was preparing a private members bill that would bring openness and transparency to the system of animal experimentation in New Zealand.


ENDS

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