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Animal Research Debate In NZ Stifled By Secrecy

Anti-vivisectionists say the animal research debate in New Zealand is being stifled by secrecy, as British Medical Journal publishes a call for moratorium on animal experiments.

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The National Anti Vivisection Campaign says more public debate is needed on the controversial issue of animal experimentation. The call comes as the latest issue of the prestigious British Medical Journal has published a call for a moratorium on animal experiments.

In an article "Where is the evidence that animal research benefits humans?", published in the latest British Medical Journal, doctors say there is very little evidence to support the view that animal research contributes to the treatment of human disease.

Prof Ian Roberts, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and other members of the "Reviewing Animal Trials Systematically Group" want a programme of research to review existing animal data, to find out if the animal research can be applied to humans, hoping to end the long debate between pro and antivivisectionists about their value in improving human health.

NAVC says the BMJ article indicates a healthy level of debate in Britain, and there is a need for more debate here. But spokesperson Mark Eden says useful debate in this country is hindered by the secrecy surrounding animal research.

"Despite the fact that more than a quarter of a million animals suffer and die in experiments every year in this country alone, the industry remains shrouded in secrecy. Recently, Massey University researchers predicted a huge increase in the number of animals used in research as a result of expansion in the biotech industry. There is an urgent need for society to debate the ethics and science behind using animals in research. To do that, the public and independent scientists must have access to all the information".

"The animal ethics committees which approve experiments here are stacked with researchers from the same institute as the one conducting the experiment, meet behind closed doors, and strongly resist any attempts by the public to find out what is going on in the labs and how they make their decisions. As a first step in achieving an evaluation of animal experimentation, it is vitally important that the veil of secrecy in the animal experimentation industry is lifted, and that greater public debate is encouraged" said Mr Eden.

"We are confident that an informed public debate will result in support for our campaign to abolish all animal experimentation. Animal research is not only unethical and cruel, it is bad science. Human medicine can only benefit from the abolition of vivisection".

Link to Article: "Where is the evidence that animal research benefits humans?"

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