National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee

The National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) was established under the Animal Welfare Act to provide independent advice to the Government minister responsible for animal welfare.

NAEAC's role in animal welfare

NAEAC gives the minister responsible for animal welfare advice on ethical and animal welfare issues relating to the use of animals in research, testing, and teaching. It also:

  • provides information and advice to animal ethics committees
  • makes recommendations to the Director-General of MPI, concerning the codes of ethical conduct under which animal research is carried out

Section 63 of the Animal Welfare Act lists all of NAEAC's functions.

Comment on rehoming animals after use

Approximately two thirds of animals used for research, testing, and teaching remain alive after use. Of these, almost 80% are returned to their owners or transferred to others.

The recent Out of the Labs petition called for the Government to amend the Animal Welfare Act 1999 to make it mandatory to consider rehoming as an alternative to euthanasia for research animals.

To meet the intent of the petition, NAEAC doesn't consider it necessary to amend the Act.

NAEAC has advised animal ethics committees and code holders that:

  • there are options for rehoming animals
  • the New Zealand Anti-vivisection Society and Helping You Help Animals have offered to be points of contact for organisations and researchers who have animals appropriate for rehoming.

NAEAC is currently updating the Good practice guide for the use of animals in research, testing and teaching to include guidance for rehoming.

Good practice guide for the use of animals in research, testing and teaching [PDF, 421 KB]

Comment on petition to ban the forced swim test in New Zealand

On 7 October 2019, Parliament received a petition calling for a ban on forced swim tests. The petition was referred to Parliament’s Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee. The select committee issued its report on 10 March 2020.

The report stated: “We were pleased to hear that the test is not widely used in New Zealand, and that many pharmaceutical companies, universities, and research institutes no longer use the test. We do not believe legislation is necessary to end the use of the Forced Swim Test. The test is used infrequently in New Zealand, and we heard that its use in academic studies is not likely to continue into the future. We support the continuing education of the ethics boards of universities and research institutes.

“We believe that communicating the disadvantages of the Forced Swim Test, and providing education on alternative research techniques, will assist in the transition away from the use of the test. We also acknowledge the call for a formal review and evaluation on the validity of all animal based psychological tests used in New Zealand. While we cannot recommend a full review at this time, we encourage the validity of animal testing to be continuously examined.”

Find out more about the petition and the report – NZ Parliament

NAEAC supports the select committee’s findings. We encourage animal ethics committees to carefully evaluate all applications. This includes considering the validity and impact of manipulations. Those involved in research, testing, or teaching should always consider alternatives, and many organisations, including NAEAC, can provide guidance with this.

Codes of ethical conduct

Annual Reports

NAEAC produces an annual report which covers the work of the committee.

Newsletters

Meetings

NAEAC holds 4 ordinary meetings each year. Members of the public can attend the open section of the meetings. For details about meeting attendance please contact the NAEAC secretariat on NAEAC@mpi.govt.nz.

Summaries from these meetings are published on this website:

Membership

NAEAC is made up of a chairperson and up to 9 other members. Members are chosen for their expertise and need a range of knowledge and experience including:

  • veterinary science
  • medical science
  • biological science
  • commercial use of animals
  • ethical standards and conduct in respect of animals
  • education issues, including the use of animals in schools
  • manipulation of animals in research, testing, and teaching
  • environmental and conservation management
  • animal welfare advocacy.

Vacancies

Members can be nominated by a relevant organisation but do not represent the nominating organisation on the committee. Any vacancies on the committee are also advertised on this website and the Government's jobs website.

NAEAC members

Members of the committee are:

  • Mr Grant H Shackell Dip Ag, Dip Field Technology, MSc – chairperson
    Retired scientist
  • Professor Bronwen J Connor BSc, PhD
    Professor Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology, The University of Auckland (nominated by Ministry for Women)
  • Dr Arnja R Dale BSc PhD
    Chief scientific officer, Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (nominated by the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)
  • Dr Craig A Gillies BSc, PhD
    Scientific officer (nominated by the Department of Conservation)
  • Dr Angenita B Harding, BVSc, MBA (Dist)
    Technical Policy Adviser (Veterinary), DairyNZ
  • Dr Jacquie L Harper, BSc (Hons), PhD
    Chief Scientist, Overseer Ltd
  • Mr Robert P Hazelwood BSc
    Animal services manager, MSD Animal Health (nominated by Agcarm Inc)
  • Ms Rachel A Heeney BSc, Dip Tchg
    Head of Biology, Epsom Girls Grammar School (nominated by the Ministry of Education)
  • Dr Michael R King, B Appl Sc (Hons), PhD
  • Senior Lecturer, Bioethics Centre, University of Otago (nominated by the Health Research Council of New Zealand)
  • Dr Dianne Wepa RSW, PhD
    Senior Lecturer, Adjunct, Auckland University of Technology

Who to contact

If you have questions about the committee, email naeac@mpi.govt.nz.

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