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Report On Animals In Science Reveals ‘disappointing’ Lack Of Progress


The Ministry for Primary Industries has released a report on the use of animals in science in 2019. Critics have labelled the results ‘disappointing’ and cite the report as evidence that the current system needs to be thrown out.

Tara Jackson, Executive Director of the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society, said the lack of progress has been disappointing.

“Over the last several decades, there have been no significant changes in these numbers. Animals are still suffering in laboratories despite constant improvements in technology. We don’t need to be stuck using outdated animal models,” Jackson said.

The report shows small fluctuations in the overall number of animals used in science, but the averages have remained similar for decades. In recent years, there is even an increase in the number of animals experiencing ‘moderate’ manipulations, a category of suffering that has increased to a historic-high of 24.9%.

Animals experiencing ‘high’ or ‘very high’ manipulations, the most severe categories of suffering, are at a historic low of 2.6%.

According to Jackson, it still isn’t good enough.

"Far too many animals are suffering in horrific experiments and other research. It doesn't have to be this way - we could transition to better methods."

The report reveals something new, for the first time the numbers of animals who were bred for research, testing, or teaching purposes but were neither manipulated nor used and were subsequently killed, were recorded. This was the outcome for an astonishing 136,679 animals in 2019.

The University of Otago alone bred over 65,000 animals who didn’t end up being used so were killed.

“This just shows a shocking and callous disregard for life. It is clear that they view these animals as nothing more than disposable lab tools,” said Jackson.

“New technologies are coming out all the time, the government needs to start pushing industry to transition to better technologies rather than using outdated animal models and unethical research methods. That’s why we’ve launched our Striking at the Source petition calling for an overhaul of the entire system,” says Jackson.

NZAVS is calling for people to sign their Striking at the Source petition, which calls for reform of the entire system of how animals are used in science. The petition calls on the government to reallocate funding to non-animal-based technologies, improve regulatory oversight of the industry, and to increase transparency to better allow the public and journalists to access information about what really goes on in laboratories.

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