Researchers Urged to Speak Out
Primary responsibility for ensuring a fair hearing on the value of animal use in research rested with the research community itself, National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee Chair John Martin QSO told the recent Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching (ANZCCART) Conference.
Mr Martin said the reluctance of some scientists and their employers to draw attention to their work was understandable because of actions by anti-animal research extremists. But he nevertheless urged bodies such as the Royal Society, ANZCCART, Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, universities and Crown research institutes to speak out. There should be strategies to give the case for animal use in research, testing and teaching a fair hearing, he said.
Mr Martin also called for support from those who benefited from research and testing: the health service, pharmaceutical companies (medical and veterinary), veterinary profession and farmers.
He said primary responsibility for making the case for the value of animal use rested with the research community, individually and collectively.
The ANZCCART conferences are held annually, and are in New Zealand every third year. This year’s conference was held in Auckland and had the biggest-ever Australian contingent, despite a press release from the National Anti-Vivisection Campaign claiming that it had been cancelled.
The theme of the conference was Blue sky to deep water: the reality and the promise. Opening the conference, Mr Martin highlighted the emergence in academic institutions of an interdisciplinary focus on animal welfare issues and the growth in animal law courses.
There were several sessions where researchers and animal ethics committees shared views on compliance, modelling, and ethical challenges and dilemmas. There was a session on coping with death and grief for those involved in euthanasing animals. Sessions on wildlife and conservation research and fish welfare also proved popular and useful.
The National Ethics Advisory Committee “Three Rs Award” and the ANZCCART New Zealand Animal Care Technician’s Award were presented at the conference dinner (see separate items in this issue).
Feedback on the conference, both formal and informal, was extremely positive. Next year’s ANZCCART conference will be held in Cairns from 28–30 July.
- Linda Carsons, Principal Adviser Animal Welfare, MAFBNZ
phone 04 894 0370
fax 04 894 0747
Page last updated: 2 July 2010