How dogs have been used in NZ
Dogs have been used in research, testing and teaching in a variety of ways - from non-harmful to cruel and invasive methods. The majority of dogs used for research, testing and teaching purposes are used for teaching and veterinary research. They are also used in environmental management, medical research, testing and more.
Dogs in NZ have been used to:
- Test insecticides, pesticides and other toxins.
- Try and model human disease and other human conditions.
- Measure the safety of food and ingredients.
- Test what pain relief is most effective.
- Research disease detection.
- Research nutrition, how it affects biological functions and food preference.
- Test the effectiveness of new, possible treatments for skin infections.
- Research performance, nutrition and underlying causes of disease in working dogs. These animals are seen as a vital part of the animal agriculture sector (in 2009 there were 150,000 working dogs in NZ).
- Research fitness and training regimes in police dogs. Police dogs have also been used to train dog handlers.
- Teach vet and vet nurse students basic concepts like animal handling and basic clinical/husbandry skills. Dog cadavers are also used to teach vet students and some dogs already scheduled to be euthanised by council pounds, are euthanised by vet and vet nurse students as part of their training.
Dogs are also considered to be used for research, testing or teaching when blood samples are taken during routine vet check are used for research purposes.
Due to the high level of secrecy that this industry has, this is not a comprehensive list. For more details and referenced examples of how dogs are used, see the case studies section at the bottom of this page.
Research on dogs in the news
Pound dogs used in 1080 experiment
Ten unwanted dogs sourced from a Christchurch pound were subjected to six consecutive days of experimental poisoning before being killed. Read more here.
Puppies brains injected in cruel test
A research experiment approved by an NZ University involved Huntaway puppies having repeated injections made into their brains. Read more here.
The figures in the table below have been provided by MPI.
|How dogs were used for science in NZ annually|
|Basic biological research||0||128||420||111|
|Animal husbandry research||0||0||0||0|
|Production of biological agents||0||0||0||0|
|Development of alternatives||0||0||0||0|
|Producing offspring with compromised welfare||NA||NA||0||0|
|Total number used||1,304||888||2,624||956|
|Animals killed that were bred but not used||NA||NA||NA||0|
|Total number including those bred and killed but weren't used||1,304||888||2,624||956|
Where dogs have been used
Dogs are used for research, testing and teaching purposes by private companies, universities, and polytechnics. Find out more.
Where dogs have been sourced from
Dogs used in science are sourced from breeding facilities, farms, city council pounds and other public sources. According to the Ministry for Primary Industries, public sources include public donations, animals obtained from a pound, a pet shop or other public sources. This includes companion animals who are used for the duration of the exercise (e.g. veterinary nurse training). Find out more.
- Demand that action be taken to prevent cruel experiments from happening in the future by signing our petition! Together we can push for stronger laws, better transparency and upgrading our science by Striking at the Source!
- This is an ongoing, longterm campaign so if you feel strongly about demanding transparency and openness, please consider making a monthly donation.
- Learn about the many other ways that you can help end animal experimentation.
- Return to the main Case Studies page.
- Check out the latest update on pound dogs used in science.
- Learn about the alternatives and replacement methods that can be used instead of animals.
- Read about why animal testing is both ethically and scientifically flawed.