Today the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) and members of the animal science and research industry have made global history by collaborating together to help create better, long-term health outcomes for people and animals of Aotearoa at a Parliamentary Select Committee hearing.
Together, representatives from both groups presented a ‘case for scientific change’ to the Primary Production Committee to ultimately reduce the reliance on animals used in research, testing and teaching in Aotearoa. The science and research representatives included a member of the Executive Committee of the Australian and New Zealand Laboratory Animal Association (ANZLAA) and an ex-president of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS).
Such a unified approach between an animal rights organisation and members of the animal science and research industry working together to advance science outcomes is unheard of, both here and internationally, until now.
The motivation for this unified front, explains Dr Jodi Salinsky, Executive Committee member of ANZLAA, is that: “no one wants to use animals for research purposes if the research can be done another way. Scientists would not choose to use animals in research if they believed that there were alternative ways that were widely accepted, accessible, and validated by the scientific community. Although reducing and replacing the use of animals in research is already practised in some ways, with dedicated funding there would be significant opportunities for more meaningful progress.”
NZAVS takes a collaborative approach with the industry, so there is a better chance of replacing the use of animals in science wherever possible. Members of the scientific community in NZ recognise that with more openness and working together with progressive organisations like NZAVS, there can be faster and more positive outcomes.
“The ability to use and develop animal-free and more human-relevant research methods would help not only animals but also the integrity and quality of the science we are producing in Aotearoa. With better science comes more opportunities to help people and improve long-term health standards, nationwide,” says Miss Tara Jackson, Executive Director, NZAVS.
“Advancing research and development in science and technology that benefits animals, people, and the environment, and also reduces and replaces the need for animals in research is the ultimate goal. We have a chance to do this together and the time is now,” says Dr Jodi Salinsky, ANZLAA Executive Committee Member.
Three requests were made to the Primary Production Committee today, including:
1. Allocate funding towards the use and development of animal-free methods.
2. Commit to phasing out the requirements for animal testing in NZ law.
3. Commit to phasing out the use of animals for science as technology permits.
Not only were these backed by more than 20,000 supporters of NZAVS but more than 10 organisations from the animal science and research community* shared a genuine desire to see progress in these key areas.
These three requests are both feasible and proven by a number of other jurisdictions** around the world, including the USA, Netherlands, Norway, UK, European Union and New South Wales, leaving the NZ Government in the risky position of lagging behind and needing to play ‘catch up’.
Miss Jackson concludes: “The NZ Government prides itself on being a leader in animal welfare. By presenting a united front today, we are simply asking them to live up to those credentials and by doing so, look after the long-term health outcomes for people and animals of Aotearoa. Given this is a ‘win-win’ situation with strong industry ‘appetite’ behind it, we expect the members of the Select Committee to do the right thing and recommend these critical changes”.
*Organisations such as ANZCCART, Universities NZ (representing all 8 universities in NZ), AgResearch (their animal ethics committee parents approx. 34% of all institutes using animals for research, testing and teaching in NZ), the Cawthron Institute (New Zealand’s largest independent science organisation) and many more, provided feedback, where possible.
- Watch the live stream of the presentation here.
- Learn more about our ‘Striking at the Source’ campaign here.