For years we have tried to convince the University of Otago to do the right thing and improve their policies for animals.
- We asked them to stop building a new $50 million animal lab – we led a fierce public campaign against this decision which showed that the opposition was strong. They said no.
- We asked them to listen to the results of the student referendum, asking that they cease the development of the new lab until transparent consultation with the student body has occurred. They said no.
- We asked them to commit to no longer killing animals for the purpose of dissection teaching exercises – the easiest of changes to make! They said no.
- We asked them to end the use of the cruel and invalid Forced Swim Test. They said no.
And now the University of Otago has spent more than $50 million on creating an animal lab that will cause an enormous amount of animal suffering. That money could have been spent investing in scientific models that do not rely on experimenting on non-human animals. It looks like The University of Otago is insisting on staying in the past with the broken animal model.
By exposing the University of Otago, we are holding them to account. But we are also aiming to go above their heads. Universities and other scientific organisations around the country will be watching this campaign, well aware that they could be next if they also refuse to make progress. Decision-makers will be monitoring public opinion on animal experiments. If we can speak out loudly enough, we can start to gain greater traction on this issue.