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Taxpayer funded vivisection at AgResearch

Wed, 14 July 2004

Taxpayer funded vivisection at AgResearch

AgResearch is the single biggest user of animals in experiments in New Zealand. According to figures obtained under the Official Information Act, the Crown Research Organisation used 55928 animals in experiments in 2003. Most were mice, cattle and sheep, but the total also included 26 dogs, 81 rabbits, and 456 guinea pigs. 104 cattle and 847 mice were listed as 'transgenic'.

AgResearch have refused to release any information on how many of these animals were killed, or the levels of suffering involved. A spokesperson for the National Anti Vivisection Campaign, Mark Eden, says that is unacceptable.

"It is absolutely disgraceful that a taxpayer funded research institute is withholding information from the public. There is widespread public concern about genetic engineering and animal cruelty, and the public should have a right to know what is going on at AgResearch".

The most well known AgResearch experiments have been the production of genetically modified cattle. NAVC spokesperson Mark Eden says "Gene transfer experiments involve a high degree of severe suffering to the cloned animals and the surrogate mothers. Most transgenic embryonic transfers are unsuccessful, and many result in spontaneous abortion of fully conscious foetuses, infections in the mothers, and stress to the embryo donors. Foetuses that survive to term are often larger than calves born through natural means, requiring a traumatic caesarian operation on the mother. Allowing the suffering of sentient animals for simple economic gain in this way can only be described as ethically repugnant"

"In recent years AgResearch have conducted internal parasite research in sheep. This involves monitoring the activity of parasites inside the sheep by surgical manipulations. In these experiments sheep are subjected to "cut and paste" operations where sections of their intestines are cut out and seperated from the rest of the gut so that researchers can conduct experiments inside the intestines. Invasive operations like this cause severe suffering to the animals" said Mr Eden.

The National Anti Vivisection Campaign is the only organisation in New Zealand focusing solely on actively campaigning for the abolition of vivisection. NAVC opposes all harmful research on animals, on ethical and scientific grounds.

ENDS

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