MPs Turn Their Backs on Laboratory Animals in NZ
Thousands of Animals Set to Die, as MPs Turn Their Backs on Laboratory Animals in NZ
Last week MPs in the Primary Production Select Committee met to discuss the fate of thousands of lab animals in New Zealand. They were deciding on a petition that was asking for the establishment of a mandatory retirement policy for ex-lab animals, to help encourage rehoming and prevent unnecessary euthanasia in NZ. These MPs have just announced their decision and it isn’t what thousands of Kiwis were hoping for.
The Select Committee has decided against a retirement policy for ex-lab animals. They have released a report stating that they “do not consider that a mandatory retirement policy is necessary for animals used in RTT (research, testing and teaching)”. And that “at present, there is nothing in the Animal Welfare Act to preclude a research facility from offering animals to rescue centres once the research is complete”.
“The issue isn’t that there is anything preventing facilities from rehoming ex-lab animals in NZ law, it’s that there is nothing encouraging the rehoming of these animals which is clearly needed. In 2015 alone 88,200 animals were killed during or after experimentation in NZ. It is evident that the government needs to step in and at least encourage these facilities to try and adopt these animals out to loving homes, where they can,” Stated NZAVS Executive Director, Tara Jackson.
“We are outraged by the lack of understanding and compassion that the select committee has shown. They could have made a very small amendment but have chosen to turn a blind eye to the needless death of thousands of animals across NZ. We will be taking our campaign to the next level and will be approaching the Minister himself now. This isn’t good enough and we know thousands of Kiwis will back us, we are a nation of animal lovers after all”, added Miss Jackson.
“We know that if there were a stronger Labour or Green Party presence in the Primary Production Select Committee, the outcome would have been different”, stated Miss Jackson.
Other legislative incentives already exist in other countries around the world including Australia. The Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes has included a provision since 2013 that ‘… opportunities to rehome animals should be considered wherever possible’.
“The change we are asking for is small and could simply involve copying exactly what Australia already have in their legislation. Our international reputation is also on the line here and we should be aiming to be world leaders in animal welfare, not playing catch up to other, more progressive countries”, said HUHA Director, Carolyn Press-McKenzie.
“We have New Zealand's biggest no-kill animal shelter (HUHA), and the only organisation in NZ that solely campaigns to end animal testing (NZAVS), working together on this. That combined with the overwhelming amount of public support we have, makes us feel confident that we will succeed in our campaign. In the meantime, we can only apologise to the thousands of animals who will needlessly be killed because MPs didn’t think their lives were worth a small legislative change”, added Miss Press-McKenzie.
The full report from MPI can be found here https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/sc/reports/document/SCR_78182/petition-20140121-of-tara-jackson-on-behalf-of-the-new
Photos of ex-lab animals can be accessed here - https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1aVJ5z2zjC8umSQ2XtHoW8OSbdcufqtZc?usp=sharing