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Severe suffering in experiments almost doubled

15 July 2008

Severe suffering in experiments almost doubled last year

The Green Party says the Government needs to explain why the numbers of animals who were forced to endured very severe suffering during experimentation almost doubled last year.

The latest report from the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee makes grim reading, Animal Welfare Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"The report shows that almost 250,000 animals were subjected to experimentation - 16,608 of those experienced very severe suffering and a further 3217 experienced severe suffering. That's a 47 percent increase in the numbers of animals who experienced severe suffering.

"Article 8 of the European Union directive 86/609 prohibits experiments on animals which cause severe pain, distress and suffering. Under European law, the experiments carried out on sixteen thousand animals would have been illegal," Ms Kedgley says.

"Why on earth is there not a similar prohibition here?

"National animal experimentation guidelines say that animals experience pain in a manner similar to humans. One can only imagine the sort of pain and suffering sixteen thousand animals were forced to endure last year?

"I cannot understand how NAEC can possibly justify causing severe suffering to cats, birds, guinea pigs and mice, especially when Chairperson John Martin states that all possible steps are taken, including a high level of veterinary care and pain relief, to prevent pain and suffering of animals used in experiments.

"We want NAEC to explain how such very severe suffering was justified in these experiments, particularly when the Animal Welfare Act says that testing can only be conducted when the benefits outweigh the likely harm to animals.

"Large numbers of these experiments are being carried out in Government-funded organisations. It is time for New Zealand to move away from animal experimentation and there should be strict laws in place specifying that experiments must only take place if there is no alternative method - such as exists in the European Community," Ms Kedgley says.


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