• May 18, 2018
Rats are just one of the many lab animals that will rehomed if a mandatory policy is put in place. Photo: Supplied.
Activists against animal testing are standing together despite setbacks in a petition to introduce a mandatory policy for ex-lab animals to be rehomed.
On Tuesday, members of the Government’s Primary Production Select Committee rejected a 16,845 strong petition to create a compulsory rehoming policy for animals used in research, testing and teaching (RTT).
The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) and Helping You Help Animals (HUHA) shelter are now hoping to take the matter to the Minister of Primary Industries, Damien O’Connor.
Tara Jackson, NZAVS executive director, says animal-rights advocates will not be giving up.
“We have so much support around New Zealand. We have a lot of people approaching us now saying that they want to take action around the country.
“A lot of people want to march and protest this.”
HUHA spokesperson Carolyn Press-McKenzie, says she thinks that MP’s are not taking the opportunity to put something more concrete in place.
“It’s not good enough and it’s something that we can’t just accept.”
Ms Jackson says she believes without legislation there is nothing to encourage RTT labs to rehome ex-lab animals.
Green Party MP Gareth Hughes supports the initiative and says New Zealand should strive to have the best animal-welfare practices in the world.
He says he would prefer to see a rehoming policy not euthanasia, because both animals and families wanting rescue pets would benefit.
In a report released on Tuesday, the Primary Production Select Committee says that 60.9 per cent of animals used in RTT in 2015 were not euthanised and only 0.6 per cent of the animals used were cats and dogs.
The remaining 39.1 percent that were euthanised is equivalent to 88,200 cattle, rats, mice, fish and sheep.
The Ministry has questioned the idea that these other species can be rehomed. However, Ms Press-McKenzie believes HUHA can rehabilitate any animals that come their way.
“We will rehome whichever animals are put in front of us.
“We also run a farm rescue so we do rehome cattle, pigs, sheep and [other farm animals] where possible.”
If the petition brings change, Ms Press-McKenzie says HUHA will be the first point of contact for rehoming animals from RTT facilities around New Zealand.