SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Alternatives to Using Animals in Research, Testing, and Teaching

Animals in Research, Testing and Teaching

SPCA advocates for the replacement, reduction, or refinement of animals used in research,testing, and teaching (the principle of the “3 Rs”). While our organisation supports efforts to refine and reduce the use of animals in research and testing, SPCA is committed to and advocates for animals to be replaced in research, testing, and teaching by non-animal alternatives.

SPCA advocates for replacements of animals in research, testing, and teaching including the use of cell, tissue, and organ cultures, human tissue or human volunteers, or ethically-sourced animal cadavers, tissues, or organs. Additional reliable non-animal alternatives include: interactive computer technology, extensive computer modelling, and 3-D models. SPCA supports industries and centres that seek to develop replacements for animals and explore alternative approaches that avoid animal use.

SPCA supports reduction of the number of animals used in research, testing, and teaching. Refinement is essential for improving laboratory animal welfare in the short term, and supports improvements in management and care of animals used in research, testing, and teaching. Refinement need to address the physical, social and mental aspects of animals including anaesthesia, analgesia, fear, hunger, boredom, social isolation, and other forms of distress.

Animal experimentation in New Zealand is controlled by the Animal Welfare Act 1999. Procedures must only be carried out within an institution that has an approved Code of Ethical Conduct, working under the authorisation of an Animal Ethics Committee (AEC). The AEC is required to weigh the likely benefits of the proposed research against the likely harms to the animals involved when considering whether to permit the work. Procedures are graded based on the increasing degree of severity of impact or invasiveness on the animals (Grades A through E; with A being the least invasive and E the most). Our organisation proposes for AECs to increase their scrutiny of all procedures and give greater consideration of proposed harms to animals in the cost/benefit analyses.

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