The Green Party is calling on the Government to explain why the number of animals that suffered severely during experimentation almost doubled last year.
The National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee's annual report released on Tuesday says nearly 250,000 animals were subjected to experimentation last year. Almost 20,000 animals experienced severe or very severe suffering.
Greens animal welfare spokesperson Sue Kedgley says the animals included cats, birds, guinea pigs and mice.
A spokesperson for Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton says the total number of animals experimented on in 2007 fell by 22%.
The animals were tested for health risks such as shellfish toxicity, the spokesperson says.