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MAF hides truth about animal torture

15 July, 2004

MAF hides truth about animal torture

Green MP Sue Kedgley has condemned MAF's release today of animal research statistics for 2003 as yet another exercise in PR spin designed to conceal the real truth about what happens to live animals used for scientific experiments.

Ms Kedgley, the Green Party spokesperson for Animal Welfare, said that the report from the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) failed to provide any meaningful information about the suffering inflicted on animals in the name of science and commerce.

"Despite its publicly stated intentions to be open with animal experiments, NAEAC's report has simply replaced the veil of secrecy surrounding animal experiments with a cloak," said Ms Kedgley.

"We still have no idea what experiments on live animals take place in New Zealand, for what purpose or why alternative non-animal methods could not be used. Nor do we know who monitors these experiments or how the scientists who perform them are held accountable.

"Surely we have a right to know why more than 320,000 animals were experimented upon last year, particularly for research that is funded by the taxpayer.

"The report only acknowledges that 15,000 animals experienced 'severe' and 'very severe' suffering.

"This means major surgery without the use of anaesthesia, physically immobilising the animals experimented on, and inducing psychotic-like behaviour leading to severe injury or death. In any other language, this amounts to torture committed on defenceless animals.

"I am sure there would be a public outcry if New Zealanders learnt of the extreme pain these animals go through in these highly secretive laboratories," she said.

Ms Kedgley has a Private Members' Bill, the Animal Welfare (Openness of Information Pertaining to Use of Animals in Research Teaching and Testing) Bill on the ballot, which would require the public release of information relating to the approval, consideration and results of animal experimentation in New Zealand.

Ms Kedgley said she was very concerned that the report does not even give an accurate account of all the animals used in experiments, as the statistics do not include animals that have been 'humanely' killed - for example, by anaesthetic overdose or electrical stunning.

"The numbers released in the report may not come close to the actual numbers of animals involved," she said. "It appears that if an animal is used and then killed 'humanely' then that animal doesn't even count. This makes a nonsense of the statistics and we welcome NAEAC's efforts to correct this absurdity."

ENDS

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