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Rise in animal testing in New Zealand

Published: 3:59PM Tuesday September 11, 2007 Source: ONE News/Newstalk ZB

New figures reveal more than 300,000 animals were used in laboratory tests and experiments last year and just under a third were killed.

Sheep, cattle, even cats and dogs have all been used in lab experiments over the last year.

The report has outraged anti-vivisectionists who say animals are being needlessly hurt.

"They come out with these reports and they say they are trying to reduce things and they are trying to make things better. Nothing ever happens and it just gets worse," says Mark Eden, an anti-vivisection campaigner.

But John Martin from the Animal Ethics Advisory Committee says New Zealand has a "very rigourous" approval system.

MAF's report reveals that over 300,000 animals were used in research and testing last year. Of those, 4,804 were subjected to severe suffering, while 11,489 were subjected to very severe suffering.

The report says animals that suffer severely are given pre and post-operative pain relief and if the animals continue to deteriorate they are either removed from the study or killed to put them out of their misery.

All up, nearly 99,000 animals were killed.

"One needs to identify the benefits, then ensure that one is using only those animals you have to use; that the numbers for each experiment are the minimum and that they are treated with care," says Martin.

The report also shows that livestock has overtaken rodents as the most tested and examined lab animals.

Also, 12 chimps and two Asian elephants were tested in New Zealand last year.

MAF claims last year's animal testing aided research into arthritis and wound healing in humans. But the bulk of the testing is used to improve sheep and dairy herds.

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