New Zealand

Animal use in New Zealand was initially regulated by the Animals Protection Act (1960) and, in particular, by its 1983 amendment, which stipulated conformance with a code of ethical practices when using animals for research or testing. The act covered all vertebrate animals kept in captivity or that are dependent upon humans for care. The 1983 amendment also established a National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC).28 Specific requirements regarding animal use were contained in the Animals Protection (Codes of Ethical Conduct) Regulations (1987). A code of ethical conduct was considered specific to the institution, but had to be approved by the Minister of Agriculture upon the advice of the NAEAC. The 1987 regulations required that codes of ethical conduct address several topics, including: alternatives to the use of animals, a justification for the choice of species, minimization of the number of animals consistent with obtaining sound data, assurance of the general health and welfare of the animals, minimization of pain and distress, and scientific merit of the project.29

The Animal Welfare Act of 199930 replaced the Animals Protection Act to meet changing societal views toward the use of animals. It also expanded the types of animals covered under the law to most of those that can feel pain. The Animal Welfare Act requires that an institution hold a Code of Ethical Conduct (CEC) before research, testing, or teaching with animals can be done. The CEC typically describes administrative procedures for the committee, as well as general policies and procedures for animal care, and must be renewed every five years. The 1999 act also calls for an independent, periodic review of the program to ensure it conforms with the CEC, the act, and other relevant regulations. An AEC implements the code. The committee is appointed by the code holder, who may be the chief executive of the institution, or his or her nominee. The AEC must be comprised of at least four members, including a senior member of the organization; an outside veterinarian; a person representing animal welfare groups who is not affiliated with the institution and is not involved with animal research, testing, or teaching; and a person to represent the public. The AEC is responsible for overseeing research conducted at the institution, including reviewing proposed projects, monitoring the project conduct, reviewing project renewals, monitoring management practices and facilities to ensure conformance with the CEC, suspending or revoking project approval, and recommending to the code holder changes to the CEC. Each proposed project must include a harm/benefit analysis and must address reduction, replacement, and refinement of animal use. If the animals are euthanized at the end of a manipulation, Part 6 does not require that the AEC consider the ethical question of killing the animals. Rather, the harm/benefit analysis that must be considered with each proposal is limited to the pain or distress that the animal may experience. Part 6 of the Act provides for circumstances where pain, distress, and "compromised care" of the animals may be allowed such that the researcher cannot be prosecuted for not conforming with Parts 1 or 2 of the Act.

The Act also mandates codes of welfare, which describe appropriate care for different species of animals, different uses of animals, and different management situations. The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, a statutory advisory committee to the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, recommends the content of the codes of welfare. Of relevance to the use of animals in research, testing, and teaching is the Code of Recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes.31 Codes address five basic needs of animals: freedom from thirst, hunger, and malnutrition; the provision of appropriate comfort and shelter; the prevention, or rapid diagnosis and treatment, of injury, disease, or infestation with parasites; freedom from distress; and the ability to display normal patterns of behavior. The New Zealand Code is based on the Australian Code of Practice and describes the general principles for the care and use of animals; details the responsibilities of investigators and the institution; and states the terms of reference, membership, and operation of the AEC.

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