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Our views on use of animals in research

Use of animals in research

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Our views

Use of animals in research

Plant & Food Research is committed to the highest ethical standards in research. We only use animals in research where no suitable alternative method exists.

Plant & Food Research uses animals in research for two distinct purposes:

  • To understand how foods interact with and modulate physiological processes within the body. This supports the development of new safe foods and ingredients with defined health and wellness benefits.

  • To understand the characteristics of animals within the food system, including physiology, behaviour and performance. This supports the development of sustainable food production systems, including optimising animal welfare within those systems.

Using animals for research in New Zealand is tightly controlled under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. All research requires approval from an Animal Ethics Committee – Plant & Food Research submits applications for research under parenting arrangements to Animal Ethics Committees at institutions approved by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Plant & Food Research appoints Animal Ethics Coordinators, who advise staff on preparing animal ethics approval and oversee animal welfare, including limiting access to animal research facilities to only required personnel.

We are committed to the Three Rs of animal research:

  • Replacement: we use existing methods and develop new systems that reduce reliance on animals in our research.

  • Reduction: we only breed the animals required to conduct our research.

  • Refinement: our research is conducted under strict animal welfare and ethics standards. In addition, we develop new husbandry methods aimed at reducing negative impacts on animals and increasing positive welfare.

We are signatories to the Openness Agreement on Animal Research and Teaching in New Zealand.

Our animal use statistics
animals in research graph