In New Zealand, there are specific laws and regulations in place to govern the use of animals for research, testing and teaching purposes.
The main legislation addressing this issue is the Animal Welfare Act 1999 which is what gives animals in NZ legal protection. However, animals used for science are not given the same rights or protections as other animals.
In fact, the part of the Animal Welfare Act that covers the use of animals for research, testing or teaching purposes gives exemptions to most requirements in the Animal Welfare Act. This means that animals used for science are left vulnerable and can be used in ways that would usually be considered illegal.
There are still legal requirements for animal testing in NZ law.
Animal ethics committees have the most power over the use of animals for science in NZ. The NZ Government leaves it up to these committees to approve and monitor the use of animals for science. Remember that the committees are appointed by the organisations using the animals– they are not appointed by an independent governing body.
The NZ Government isn’t very involved in directly overseeing animal use for science. One of the responsibilities of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is to oversee the part of the Animal Welfare Act relating to the use of animals for science, but in practice, they:
Approximately 300,000 animals are used for science each year in New Zealand. That means around 1.5 million animals will be used per 5-year audit cycle. Do you think this is enough to ensure animals are protected? Because we don’t!
Learn more about the laws and regulations relating to the use of animals for science in NZ below.