Spec. Issue 2006 - Article Summary

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The use of animals in research, testing and teaching in New Zealand – a legal perspective

Neil Wells
School of Natural Sciences, Unitec, New Zealand
Part 6 of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 (New Zealand) provides that a person (which by definition includes an institution) may only use an animal for the purposes of research, testing or teaching if the person is a code holder or is authorised by a code holder, the research, testing and teaching is approved by an institutional animal ethics committee and carried out in accordance with any conditions imposed by the AEC.
Legal provisions such as the Animal Welfare Act are not intended to be, nor should they be used, as an insurance policy. The concept of AECs approving animal use protocols “just in case” without careful inquiry is an abuse of legal process and may be unnecessarily time consuming and costly for the applicant, the code holder and the animal ethics committee. It is critical that all the legal requirements of the Act are met.
Part 6 of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 embodies the legal provisions of the 1984 amendment to the Animals Protection Act 1960 and practices that developed until 1998. Where Part 6 of the Act does not apply to a particular animal use Part 1 will apply. This paper focuses on determining which part of the Act applies to specific animal use in research, testing and teaching and provides a guide to assist AECs in determining when approval under Part 6 of the Act is required.

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