Out of the Labs

Let them live... out of the labs

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Out Of The Labs

Thousands of animals are killed after being used for research, testing and teaching (RTT), in New Zealand every year. Currently there are no laws or regulations in place to protect these animals from being needlessly euthanized.

In 2015 alone over 88,000 animals were killed during or after being used for RTT in NZ.

The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS), and Helping You Help Animals (HUHA), have teamed up to ask the government to create a mandatory retirement policy for ex-lab animals, to help encourage the rehoming of ex-lab animals and prevent unnecessary euthanasia.

NZAVS and HUHA are opposed to the use of animals as testing and research tools but until the day that ends we need the best possible outcomes for these animals. HUHA have rescued and rehomed beagles being bred for research after the VARC laboratory closed. This though is just the tip of the iceberg of what could be done. The animals still in labs need hope and a chance to get out of the labs and into loving homes. The only way this will happen is if the labs are compelled to release them. They won't do it on their own, and that's where you come in to it...

Click here for more on the VARC rescue.

NZAVS have been actively campaigning to end animal testing in New Zealand since 1978. Read more about their work and about animal testing in NZ here

Our Aims

The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) and Helping You Help Animals (HUHA), have come together to ask that the government enact a mandatory animal retirement policy for animals used in research, testing and teaching — ensuring that facilities using these animals have to at least “try” and rehome ex-lab animals where they are able to, to willing and able rescue organisations instead of being euthanised; and that this policy also include all surplus and breeding animals.

There are many ways this could be done in practice. The essential criteria for:
• A person or facility shall, after the completion of any testing or research involving an animal make a reasonable effort to offer the animal for adoption through an animal rescue, shelter organisation, or society.
• Nothing in this section shall create an obligation upon such an organisation to accept any animal offered by a research facility for adoption.
• Some details of the research conducted must be provided to the rescue, shelter, or society, to aid with rehabilitation and adoption of the animal/s.
• Animals used to breed from need to be included. They deserve the same hope.
• Details of the animals offered to rescue, shelters, or societies shall be included in the animal usage figures provided to the Ministry of Primary Production.

Note: We are only asking that facilities “try” and rehome the animals that have been used for RTT in NZ to willing and able research facilities.

We don’t want to create a bigger job for already over run sanctuaries, we instead only want the animals to go to willing and able rescue and rehabilitation centers such as HUHA. HUHA would happily be the first point of contact for all facilities in NZ who have ex-lab animals in need of a home. We have extensive experience working with institutionalised animals.

Other legislative incentives already exist in other countries around the world including Australia. The Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes has included a provision since 2013 that ‘… opportunities to rehome animals should be considered wherever possible’.

NZ could follow Australia’s lead and make small amendment that will have a huge impact for ex-lab animals all around Aotearoa.

The Petition

We handed a petition into parliament on the 27th April 2017 asking that the NZ government create a legislative incentive to encourage the rehoming of ex-lab animals. We had 16, 845 people sign the petition, showing just how important this issue is to people in New Zealand.

The petition was first considered by the Primary Production Select Committee. They decided AGAINST our petition.

We are disappointed by this response and we are surprised by their lack of honest and thorough consideration. All of their concerns/reasons for voting against our petition had been addressed already.

Their reasons for not supporting our petition are not good enough and they suggest that the committee did not listen to us or read any of the material that we sent them. If they did they would see that their concerns have already been addressed within our well thought out campaign.

Read more about their response here

We are now taking our campaign to the next level by taking this issue to the Minister of Agriculture and Minister for Biosecurity, Food Safety, and Rural Communities, Damien O'Connor. We will be sure to keep everyone updated on his response!

Take Action

There isn’t a lot you can do to help for now apart from share this news with friends and whanau! Let them all know that ex-lab animals will continue to be needlessly killed because MPs didn’t think their lives were worth a small legislative change.

MPI and other MPs and researchers keep talking about the cases where animals couldn’t be rehomed. They are avoiding talking about the animals that could be rehomed – these are the animals that this legislative incentive would save. They continue to emphasise how impractical it would be to rehome “farm animals” in NZ which is very misleading as it would be rare that we would be given the opportunity to rehome these types of animal.

This also contradicts what they have said in the past — The below statement was taken directly from a report written by MPI themselves.
“The high survival rates (96.2 percent) for livestock reflect the number of trials of low invasiveness that take place while the animals remained in their normal farm environment and continued as part of the herd/flock at the conclusion of the trial. On the other hand, only 3.3 percent of rodents and rabbits remained alive following projects.” – Taken from the Statistics on the Use of Animals in Research, Testing and Teaching in New Zealand in 2015, Report.

The main animals we’d get the chance to rehome would be rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats, dogs and other small animals. We already have a long list of people who would love the opportunity to rehome these animals, especially ex-lab rats or mice.

If you would like to hear about opportunities to rehomed ex-lab animals in NZ, then add yourself to our "ex-lab animal waiting list" and be notified when an animal can be rehomed in your area!

Just send us an email to with the following:
- Your name
- Email address
- Phone number
- Location
- What kind of animal you would like to rehome and how many (i.e. one dog or two rats etc.)

This way we can be prepared for when facilities around NZ who use animals for research, testing or teaching and don't want to needlessly euthanise animals, contact us offering ex-lab animals for adoption!

To clarify, we don't currently have any ex-lab animals needing homes, but we want to be prepared for when/if we get offered any from facilities around NZ who use animals for research, testing or teaching.

Your Stories

We know that a lot of people have tried to rescue and rehome lab animals in New Zealand. Many students are forced to use live animals in their course work when they don't want to and have tried and been stopped from doing so. Your stories and experiences can make an impact and ensure changes are made. We'd love you to share them here for others to read and to be shared with MPs. Please email us with what you experienced; just let us know if you want to remain anonymous, which is understandable. Thank you!

I studied some animal behavior papers at University, one of them involved doing experiments with mice. These were all really humane tests and mainly involved observing different breeds of mice and how their behavior differs. After my class was finished with these mice (around 60 of them) I was really curious to know what was going to happen to them. After finding out they were all going to be gassed once we were finished with them I was truly horrified

All of these mice were perfectly healthy and judging by the way they all clung to the side of the cage trying to wedge their little heads between the bars, they wanted to live.

I started asking my teachers if I could re-home them or just keep them myself, they told me it was above their power and that they couldn't do anything, I then tried to reach out to other people and sent numerous emails trying to find someone who could help me save these mice. Having no luck and after making a lot of my teachers annoyed I contemplated just taking the mice, unfortunately my teachers figured this out and said if any mice were missing they'd know it was me. In the end all the mice were gassed and I was left feeling helpless and incredibly guilty. There was no need for these animals to die, animals who are used in experiments in the name of science should not have to be killed after we are done with them. It makes absolutely no sense when there are people out there willing to give them a good home

When I was a young Trainee Veterinary Nurse, we had a practical lesson at Wallaceville Animal Research in Upper Hutt. The lesson was in IV catheterisation and fluid therapy. The lesson was held at the animal research centre because there were breeding dogs that we could use and practice on during the lesson. The dogs we used were healthy Labrador-types.

At the end of the session the Vet/Tutor told us that he had always been curious as to how much air you would need to inject into an IV line in order to kill an animal. He proceeded to suck air into a large syringe and was about to inject it into the dog he was demonstrating on.

His reasoning was that the dog was of no longer required for research anymore and was due to be euthanized by the research team anyway. As his audience was a group of young animal loving trainee vet nurses the vet did not get to fulfil his curiosity that evening. Though I suspect the dog's life ended soon after as per the research protocol.

Vivisection in NZ

On average every day nearly 250 animals are killed in New Zealand laboratories. That though accounts for less than a third of all animals used. Many are killed at the end of the experiment as they are no longer what the researchers call "research naive". Many more are not counted in the statistics as they never leave the breeding facilities that supply animals to the labs. They are killed simply for being surplus to requirements, or are retained for breeding purposes then killed when they are no longer needed for this.

Research on over half the animals used in NZ is related to animal agriculture, in experiments to make farming more efficient and profitable. About 20% are used for medical research or testing. Animal tests give misleading results due to genetic, physiological, metabolic and psychological differences that make the extrapolation of data between species unpredictable.

For more information on vivisection in New Zealand and what you can do to help stop it please visit the NZAVS website.

About Us

HUHA — Helping You Help Animals Charitable Trust

HUHA is about making the community aware and getting them involved. It is about being proactive and problem solving. Too often situations are put in the 'too hard' basket. Join the dedicated team of HUHA followers and let us help you help animals in need in your community. Working together, networking, communicating and thinking outside the square... HUHA leads by example and saves lives.

NZAVS — New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (Inc.)

Vivisection is inhumane and scientifically flawed. NZAVS is the only organisation in New Zealand fighting solely for the total abolition of vivisection.

The ethical objections are obvious; therefore we concentrate on the scientific arguments against vivisection. That is, due to the physical and other differences between species, no species can be an accurate model for another.

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