19 Sep 2010

Animal research decreases by 13%

5:10 pm on 19 September 2010

The number of animals being used for research in New Zealand decreased by 13% last year.

Latest figures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries show nearly 300,000 animals were used in research, testing and teaching in 2009.

The species most commonly used for research in 2009 were mice, birds, sheep and cattle, making up about 71% of all the animals experimented on.

Birds had the biggest increase in use, with nearly 18,000 more involved in experiments than in 2008.

The Animals Ethics advisory committee's chairperson, Virginia Williams says about three-quarters of the birds were unborn chickens used to investigate Bird Flu.

Dr Williams says despite last year's overall numbers dropping, the more accurate three-year reporting average remains about the same.