#3 Animal Testing
Work towards New Zealand becoming the first country in the world to ban all testing on animals by 1 January 2022
Testing on animals results in suffering and death for many of the animals used. In February 2016, statistics were released showing 310,287 animals were used in research in New Zealand in 2014, up 38 per cent from the 2013 figure. Animals used included dogs, cats, sheep, fish, deer and cattle. Two cheetahs were used in scientific research in New Zealand in 2015.
Animal testing produces results which are often of little relevance when applied to humans. Stanford University researchers found that medical studies using animals to test therapies for human brain disorders were frequently biased, initially claiming positive results and then failing in human trials. The researchers examined 160 meta-analyses of 1411 animal studies on potential treatments for multiple sclerosis, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and spinal cord injury. Only eight showed evidence of strong statistically-significant associations using evidence from more than 500 animals. Only two studies produced convincing data in randomised, controlled studies in humans. Another study published in the United States showed that artificially inducing a model of a disease in a mouse and then curing it did not provide an effective cure for a naturally-occurring disease in a human. The study was carried out after researchers wondered why 150 cures for the often-fatal disease sepsis developed and tested on mice all failed in humans.
Millions of animals around the world are accordingly enduing agony followed by death for tests which produce no medically-useful results. It is 2017 and there are ample alternatives to animal testing, including in vitro cell culture, in silico computer simulation, use of human skin for irritancy tests, use of donated human blood for pyrogenicity studies and microdosing.
The Government decided in 2014 that party pills should not be tested on animals. Now it should work towards banning all testing on animals as soon as possible. This country should aim to be the first nation in the world to do this and to set a standard for others to follow. This would complement our clean, green image and be a good marketing tool for New Zealand. Animal testing is cruel to animals and dangerous to humans.