Spec. Issue 2006 - Article Summary

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Revision of a scale for assessing the severity of live animal manipulations

Virginia M. Williams1, David J. Mellor2 and John Marbrook3
1School of Natural Sciences, Unitec, Auckland, New Zealand; 2Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre,
Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand; 3Auckland, New Zealand

In 1997, a severity scale to assess and record the level of welfare compromise to animals used in research, testing and teaching was introduced in New Zealand. Under this scale, the severity of procedures was expressed in terms of different categories of suffering based on numerous examples at the five levels outlined in a paper by Mellor and Reid (1994). This paper reports on a review into the operation and effectiveness of that scale and the extent to which it fulfils the purposes for which it was devised. Key features of the scale are described, including its strengths and limitations, and comparisons with other scales operating internationally are made. Recommendations regarding modification of the scale based on this evaluation are outlined, and key steps in its implementation are described.

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