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World Day for Laboratory Animals ­ 24 April

22 April 2004

MEDIA RELEASE

Tortured, Killed, Discarded World Day For Laboratory Animals ­ 24 April

Anti-vivisectionists in Auckland and Christchurch will hold graphic remembrance ceremonies to commemorate the lives of New Zealand's 260,000 animals used for experimentation, on World Day for Laboratory Animals, Saturday 24 April.

"Public displays of dead bodies, wrapped in bloodied white sheets will serve as a stark reminder of animals cruelly mutilated, abused and disposed of behind the closed doors of this country's laboratories," says Hans Kriek, Campaign Director of SAFE, New Zealand¹s oldest and largest animal rights organisation.

"Of the 260 000 animals used annually, half are killed, and thousands more are subjected to what the government describes as severe or very severe suffering. The type of experiments that fall in these categories range from major surgery without the use of anaesthesia; recovery from third-degree burns or serious traumatic injuries, to lethal dose toxicity testing and the induction of psychotic-like behaviour leading to severe injury or death."

Most animal research in New Zealand is carried out for commercial reasons and is aimed at increasing the profits of the meat and dairy industries. Only a small percentage (11.5 percent in 2002) of laboratory animals are used in medical research. Preliminary figures obtained under the Official Information Act indicate that the year 2003 may see an increase in experimentation.

"Why do we as a country accept the burning, blinding, poisoning and surgical mutilation of tens of thousands of animals? Most of these experiments can only be described as torture for profit and this explains the shroud of secrecy that hangs over animal research in this country. Researchers are well aware that the public will not accept this abhorrent cruelty to animals and go to great lengths to cover up what happens to animals in New Zealand's laboratories," says Mr Kriek.

SAFE believes that the Animal Welfare Act fails to protect laboratory animals by allowing them to be used in experiments that cause severe and very severe suffering. SAFE will now actively lobby for law changes to stop animal research from being carried out in secret and seeks an immediate ban of experiments where animals endure severe or very severe suffering.

ENDS

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