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Advisory Committee Annual Report Released

Advisory Committee Annual Report Released

Eleven reviews of organisations involved in the use of animals for research, testing or teaching were completed during 2003.

These figures were announced in the 2003 Annual Report of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) released today.

Chairperson, Wyn Hoadley, said the reviews provided assurances that all research, testing, or teaching using animals adhered to principles outlined under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

“All the reviewed organisations showed a high commitment to the welfare of the animals in their care, and their codes of ethical conduct required for ongoing work involving animals were renewed,” she said.

A key function of NAEAC is to provide independent advice to the Minister of Agriculture on ethical and animal welfare issues arising from the use of animals in research, testing and teaching.

During 2003, the committee recommended an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act which essentially sought to refine what constitutes a ‘manipulation’ under the Act.

Generally, ‘manipulation’ means the interference to an animal’s normal physiological, behavioural or anatomical integrity by subjecting it to an unusual or abnormal procedure different to normal management or practice. This could involve exposing the animal to any parasite, micro-organism, drug, chemical, biological product or environmental condition, or enforced activity, restraint, nutrition, or surgical intervention, or depriving the animal of usual care.

The committee recommended that the humane killing of animals involved in research, testing and teaching should be defined as a manipulation and be included in statistical information.

“Currently there is no distinction between the humane killing of research animals from the killing of animals for food or because they are unwanted. NAEAC is of the view that these figures should require ethical approval and be included in statistics, to do otherwise could be regarded as misleading,” she said.

In response to this recommendation MAF will undertake a detailed policy analysis of the proposal.

NAEAC also launched the Three Rs Award – reduction, refinement and replacement – to recognise excellence in the humane use of animal in research, testing and teaching.

In 2003 the award was funded by contributions made by the Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching, the New Zealand Veterinary Association and the Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre.

Associate Professor Alex Davies of the Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences at Massey University was awarded the prize in 2003.

A copy of the report is available at: http://www.maf.govt.nz/biosecurity/naeac-ar-03.pdf

For hard copies of the report contact the Animal Welfare Group on 04 474 4129

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