Animals Bred for Science

Animals Bred for Science


Breeding units are yet another dark secret of the animal experimentation industry.

Sadly many animals are bred specifically to be used for research, testing or teaching purposes in NZ. The fate of these animals has already been predetermined; they never stood a chance. 

In 2021 alone, 85,598 animals used for science came from breeding units.

A breeding unit is "an institutional unit dedicated to breeding animals for manipulation" (according to the Ministry for Primary Industries/MPI).

 

PLACES THAT SOURCED ANIMALS FROM BREEDING UNITS

The following institutes sourced animals from breeding units and used them for research, testing or teaching purposes in 2020/21: 

  • Ag Research Ltd 
  • Boffa Miskell Ltd
  • Cave and Harvey Research
  • CuroNZ Ltd
  • Department of Conservation
  • Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd - Manaaki Whenua
  • Malaghan Institute of Medical Research
  • ManukaMed Limited Partnership
  • Massey University
  • National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd (NIWA)
  • National Trade Academy
  • New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Ltd
  • Nzeno Ltd
  • Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Ltd
  • University of Auckland 
  • University of Canterbury
  • University of Otago
  • University of Otago, Christchurch
  • University of Otago, Wellington
  • University of Waikato
  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • Waikato Institute of Technology

This may not be a complete list – it’s only the information that we could obtain via the animal usage forms supplied to us by MPI from an Official Information Act Request request.

 

THE TYPES OF ANIMALS BRED IN NZ

The following species were bred to be used for research, testing or teaching purposes in 2020/21: 

  • Cattle
  • Goats
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Sheep
  • Rabbits
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Deer
  • Fish
  • Horses
  • Pigs
  • Guinea pigs
  • Pigeons
  • Fowls/chickens
  • Other birds 
  • Amphibians
  • Reptiles

This may not be a complete list – it’s only the information that we could obtain via the animal usage forms supplied to us by MPI from an Official Information Act Request request.

 

WHERE THE BREEDING UNITS ARE LOCATED

This is one of the problems – due to how well hidden this industry is, we don’t know for sure where all the breeding units are!

From an Official Information Act request we sent out in 2014, we know that the following institutes had their own breeding unit during 2012 – 2014:

  • Massey University (they bred sheep, cats and rats)
  • University of Auckland (mice, rats, guinea pigs and zebrafish)
  • AUT (mice)
  • Victoria University (rats, mice, and tuatara)
  • University of Waikato (chickens)
  • University of Canterbury (rats)
  • University of Otago (mice, rats guinea pigs)
  • AgResearch (mice, rats, goats and cows)

We can’t be certain that this is still the case. Also, this list doesn’t include any of the private breeding facilities.

 

WHAT THE BREEDING UNITS LOOK LIKE

Due to the high level of secrecy that this industry has, we do not know what all breeding units look like. However, as an indication, check out the photos of AgResearch’s animal housing taken in 2014 below. 

Mouse room:

mouse room - web

SPF (Specific Pathogen Free – this is a term used to describe animals that are guaranteed to be free of certain diseases e.g. influenza) area:

SPF area - web

 

 

WHAT HAPPENS TO UNWANTED ANIMALS? 

When animals are bred to be used for research, testing and teaching purposes, it is impossible to breed the exact number of animals required. Excess, unwanted animals are just a standard part of the breeding process, and it is up to the institute to decide what they do with excess animals.

The number of animals bred for science, never used and subsequently killed has been monitored by the NZ Government since 2019: 

  • 2019: 159,149

  • 2020: 149,496 

  • 2021: 178,569

Over these three years, 487,214 animals were bred for science, never used and killed. 

We have made it clear to all institutes that we are willing and able to help, but institutes are not required to try and rehome animals.

If you are interested in adopting animals who have been used for research, testing or teaching purposes — you can add your name to our waitlist here

 


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