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Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes submission

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E. Submission
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General Comments
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General Comments
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Using animals for scientific purposes an ethical and moral issue of the first order. If animals are so like us that we can substitute them for testing instead of using humans, then surely those animals have the very attributes (ability to suffer physically and psychologically, conscious awareness) that mean they deserve to be respected and protected from harm—as we would wish for ourselves.

Animal experimentation and the invasive use of animals for teaching, is inherently wrong. The use of animals in research and teaching is more about tradition and history than it is about science. I am not opposed to ‘scientific progress’, but I am opposed to the use of animals in the pursuit of that progress.

Today scientific use of animals is a  is a multi-billion dollar industry, encompassing the pharmaceutical and chemical industries and university and government bodies. There is also a significant industry providing support services in relation to animal research, including animal breeding, food supply, cage manufacture, etc. They all profit from the unnecessary suffering and deaths of billions of  innocent sentient animals subject to cruel treatment in the name of science.

In fact, more than six million animals are used annually in research and teaching in Australia and New Zealand (Animals Australia website). Many (but not all) those animals are subjected to some degree of pain and/or stress during the experimental procedure or as a result of the environment in which they are kept prior to and/or after the procedures.

There are already many alternatives to animals which have been developed, particularly in the areas of toxicity testing and teaching. Developments have occurred most rapidly and effectively in countries in which the use of animals is prohibited. The use of alternatives may involve the use of the same experimental goals, but using instead techniques which may include cell cultures or computer programs, or it may involve changing the experimental aim altogether, such as eliminating an animal based experiment and replacing it with a clinical experiment involving humans.

The failure to use alternatives is too often caused by inertia, lack of funding, or a reluctance to deviate from previous methodology. The use of alternatives is crucial to the elimination of the use of animals in research and teaching.

Therefore I do not support in any shape of form a code of practice that continues to use animals for scientific purposes. I support a revision of the Australian Government’s NHMRC Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes that eliminate the use of animals used for scientific purposes, and therefore eliminates the unnecessary suffering and deaths of billions of sentient animals each year in this country.

Page reviewed: 1 March, 2013