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Animal suffering on the rise

5 September 2006

Animal suffering on the rise

Green Party Animal Welfare Spokesperson Sue Kedgley has expressed her dismay at the reported rise - by nearly 20,000 - in the numbers of animals used for research, testing and teaching purposes in New Zealand during 2005, and at the related rise in those animals experiencing severe or very severe suffering in the process.

Ms Kedgley was commenting on the release of the annual report of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee, or NAEAC, which monitors animal welfare issues in the scientific community.

"Despite the lip service to welfare issues given by the Government and by the scientific research community, the fact is that scientists are now using over a quarter of a million animals in scientific research in New Zealand.

"The scale of suffering is on the rise. A total of 16, 419 animals experienced severe or very severe suffering. last year, up from 12,939 animals in that category during 2003. More animals are suffering more severely," Ms Kedgley says.

"I think the scientific community has a job of explaining to do. The European Community has a directive that prohibits the kind of animal suffering that we are inflicting on nearly 13,000 animals in New Zealand. What steps are being taken here to ensure no animals are subjected to such inhumane treatment?

"What steps is the scientific community also taking to publicise its own research among colleagues, to ensure that animals are not being needlessly sacrificed to testing and teaching experiments that may well be redundant ?

"Mice, sheep, cattle and birds were the animal types most commonly used in 2005. Taxpayers have a right to know what is being done to animals in their name. After all, by far the most of the animal experimentation being done in this country is happening in government -funded institutes and departments around the country.

"The reported rise in experiments on animals and the increase in their severe suffering is extremely disturbing. The scientific community needs to be forthcoming about what it is doing to minimise the need for using animals in its work, and what measures it is prepared to put in place to mitigate their suffering."

ENDS

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