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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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Animal Use in Biotechnology: Issues and Options A New Zealand Perspective

A.C. David Bayvel

Although New Zealand has a relatively small national biotechnology research effort, there are a number of specific areas that have attracted attention in recent years. This has resulted from the interests and expertise of individual researchers, the priorities of both public and private sector research institutions, the importance of the livestock industries to the New Zealand economy, the high health status of New Zealand’s cattle and sheep populations and, particularly, the absence of scrapie and bovine spongiform encephalopathy. A number of research activities are reviewed, with particular reference to the associated welfare and ethical issues. This includes reference to relevant legislation covering animal welfare and new organisms. Particular attention is given to public and political interest in the newer research areas. The challenges posed to researchers and regulators in relation to both public consultation and effective communication of the risks and benefits of the work proposed or being undertaken are addressed. The role of independent expert advisory committees (the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee and the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee) and the need for lay members of animal ethics committees to be fully conversant with the welfare implications and ethical considerations of the technology being used are also discussed