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Escalation of protest activity imminent

Scientists charged with cruelty as second animal research conference begins

Escalation of protest activity imminent

Anti-vivisection campaigners say they are appalled at the levels of cruelty inside New Zealand animal research laboratories. Last year 15,817 animals were subjected to Œsevere suffering¹ in experiments in New Zealand, according to MAF statistics.

Coalition Against Vivisection spokesperson Mark Eden says "Every year in New Zealand thousands of animals are starved, electro-shocked, burned, injected with poisons, cut open and killed in painful toxicity tests."

The annual conference of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Laboratory Animal Science (ANZSLAS) begins today. The second of two animal experimentation conferences held in Christchurch this week, the conference is aimed at laboratory animal breeders, managers and technicians.

Mr Eden said the people attending the ANZSLAS conference were directly responsible for the suffering of thousands of animals in painful experiments.

"These animals are being tortured. There is no sane excuse for this amount of cruelty. In the last four years, Auckland University has subjected more then 6,000 animals to experiments described as causing them severe suffering. In the same period, Massey University has used dogs, hamsters, sheep and chickens in highly painful research.

At Landcare Research, over 500 animals, including 36 penguins, experienced severe levels of suffering last year. A further 805 guinea pigs were used in Œvery severe suffering¹ experiments at an undisclosed laboratory in 2002.

MAF defines experiments in the Œvery severe suffering¹ category as including: Major surgery without anaesthesia, toxicity testing, studies of recovery from third degree burns or serious traumatic injuries or the induction of psychotic behaviour leading to severe injury or death. (1)

Protest activity held daily since 8am Monday outside the Hotel Grand Chancellor in opposition to live animal experimentation is expected to be stepped up today. An outdoor exhibition of mutilated stuffed animal toys will flank protesters carrying coffins alongside 10-foot tall grim reapers to depict the cruelty and trauma inflicted on animals. Protest action will begin at noon today.

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