11 Dec 2009

Rules for animal research 'on par' with EU

2:07 pm on 11 December 2009

The latest analysis from the Animal Ethics Advisory Committee shows that the rules governing New Zealand's use of animals in research are on a par with what is allowed in the European Union.

The study, carried out by specialist animal welfare staff from the Ministry of Agriculture, was done in response to public concern that New Zealand's laws allowed experiments to be undertaken that would not be permitted in EU countries.

It focused on animal testing for veterinary vaccines and shellfish biotoxins, as these are the areas where animal testing is most commonly used.

Committee's chair Virginia Williams, says testing in both the EU and this country aims to minimise the amount of pain and distress experienced by the animals.

She says there are no significant differences between what's acceptable in either jurisdiction, although the EU's rules on animal testing are governed by two different pieces of legislation instead of one.

Ms Williams says internationally, much emphasis is being placed on the development and use of alternative procedures that do not require the use of animals. But for the time being, it is likely their use will have to continue.