The Humane Society International (HSI) has sent a letter to Otago’s Deputy Vice-chancellor, Professor Richard Blaikie, expressing their concern regarding Otago’s new $50,000,000 animal laboratory that is being built.
The HSI is a non-profit animal protection organization that works through science, public and corporate policy, education and hands-on programs to promote a shift toward advanced, human biology-based models and technology in safety science and biomedical research.
The HSI’s Science Team is exposing failed animal models and pressing for funding to be shifted to more promising and ethical avenues of research.
In their detailed letter to the University of Otago, they highlight issues such as global funding, student’s potential careers, and the university investing considerable resources into an industry that is on the decline.
Here are just a few selected quotes from this letter:
“In the face of the global shift in focus and funding toward human-based approaches in life sciences research, investment by Otago University in a new animal facility seems more a step backwards, likely to stagnate research and limit future prospects.”
“These national and international funding calls indicate that the funding is shifting away from the poorly-predictive animal models towards more human-relevant technologies. Investment of considerable funds to animal research by the University of Otago signifies an inability to recognize these future projections for human-focused biomedical research.”
“On a global scale, scientific research has continued this move away from reliance on animal models towards more time- and cost-effective non-animal approaches.”
“Students with a track record of training and education in in-vivo methods are ill-prepared for future research challenges, and students from Otago University with limited understanding of 21st century tools will be unable to find their place in the NAM employment marketplace.”
They also make their own suggestion about the $50,000,000 animal laboratory that Otago is currently building:
“HSI recommends repurposing the Otago University construction into the development of a New Zealand Centre for Excellence in Human Biomedicine.”
We look forward to sharing with you the University of Otago’s response - watch this space!
Read HSI’s full letter to the University of Otago here
Read more about HSI here