Vivisection in New Zealand

A brief overview of vivisection in NZ and an example of the type of cruel experiments that have happened here.

While results from vivisection from around the world are used in New Zealand, regulations controlling hazardous substances, pharmaceuticals and many other areas, and the serious anti-vivisection focus is on eliminating the demand for vivisection in these areas, it should also be noted that vivisection is also performed in New Zealand. However if merely the performance of animal experiments was banned in New Zealand, the experiments would simply take place elsewhere in the world, with their dangerous and misleading results still being used in New Zealand regulations, with resulting negative impacts on human health.

While the number of animals used in New Zealand experiments seems high in absolute terms, it can pale into insignificance when compared to the millions and millions of animals being used in vivisection elsewhere in the world. This is why, in New Zealand, abolition requires both the elimination of vivisection performed in New Zealand and more importantly for the New Zealand regulations to specifically exclude the results from animal experiments to be used in matters determining the safety or efficacy for humans of substances or procedures.

In New Zealand vivisection procedures are decided by the peer review system, which means quite simply that the necessity for the experiments to be carried out is decided by the vivisectors who interpret and apply the law according to their requirements.

On average over 300,000 animals are used in vivisection in New Zealand each year. These experiments are performed in universities, schools, polytechnics, commercial laboratories, government departments and ministries. The species used include hamsters, mice, rats, guinea-pigs, sheep, cattle, goats, birds, fish, alpaca, buffalo, cats, deer, dogs, donkeys, horses, pigs, and more.

An example of a New Zealand vivisector is Lois Armiger of Auckland. It is reported that Lois Armiger has used approximately 135 dogs from Auckland pounds, inducing heart attacks in them by blocking their coronary artery; some individual experiments lasting up to 6 hours. In 1990 Armiger was granted $68,600 to continue the experiments by the Medical Research Council.

“Animal models of human coronary artery disease are extremely poor models, coronary artery disease is a disease of human beings.”
– Dr Brandon Reines.
Dogs have been extensively used in heart research, but dogs’ coronary arteries differ from humans:

  • They have smaller connections; in dogs the left coronary artery dominates while in humans the right one does.
  • A dog’s conduction system has a different pattern of blood supply so researchers have difficulty producing ischemic heart attacks in dogs which are frequent in humans.
  • A dog’s coagulation mechanism differs so that testing prosthetic devices and valves is unreliable.
  • A dog’s reaction to shock is very different – after massive blood loss dog’s intestines are congested, while in humans we see pallor and ischemia.

No wonder conclusions from dog experiments extrapolated to human beings frequently bring about catastrophic 


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