The figures, normally released in the subsequent year, were released later than usual as the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) no longer includes this information in its annual report.
This increase is hugely disappointing on the back of last year's all-time low. It confirms what we knew then - the low was a one off glitch and NAEAC is failing in its supposed aim of replacing and reducing animal use for research and testing in New Zealand.
We have seen an increase of 80% in the number of animals used for medical research, 95% of which are rodents and rabbits. That this is occurring when there is an ever growing weight of evidence in the scientific literature showing that animal models don't reliably predict human responses shows we have a lot to catch up on.
Assuming patients will react like they are 80kg rats is not a sound foundation for medical research. There is some disturbing information with the numbers released. Reports of animals becoming fly-struck during an experiment and high levels of suffering of animals used in drug addiction studies.
Over half the animals used in New Zealand in 2014 were by Universities and Crown Research Institutes. Our taxes are funding this yet information on exactly what they are doing and why isn't publically available. Secrecy and lack of openness and scrutiny is endemic to animal testing and research in New Zealand and needs to end. We're still awaiting an investigation by the Ombudsman after Massey University refused to release any information about the 106 dogs used in medical research and the 79 used for product testing in 2013.