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Published 8 March 2024

ANZCCART New Zealand releases second annual report on Openness Agreement for animal research and teaching

The Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching (ANZCCART) New Zealand is pleased to unveil its second Annual Report on the Openness Agreement for the Use of Animals in Research and Teaching in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Launched in July 2021 with 21 signatories, the Agreement has expanded to encompass 30 organisations committed to fostering transparency and accountability in the use of animals for research and teaching purposes.

The Openness Agreement represents a landmark initiative aimed at promoting public understanding of animal research practices and the ethical considerations surrounding them. Signatories pledge to enhance communication with the media, the public, and tangata whenua (the indigenous Māori community) regarding the use of animals in research and teaching, as well as adherence to the principles outlined in the New Zealand Animal Welfare Act.

Key findings from the second Annual Report include:

  1. Progress in Openness: The report highlights significant improvements in transparency among signatory organisations, with the majority actively providing additional information to the public about their use of animals in research and teaching.
  2. Community Engagement: Signatories have demonstrated a commitment to engaging with the public and tangata whenua through various initiatives, including public presentations, facility tours, and consultations with Māori communities.
  3. Enhanced Communication: Despite challenges, organisations have made strides in enhancing communication channels with the media and the public, though there is room for improvement in streamlining access to information on organisational websites.
  4. Commitment to Ethical Practices: The report underscores the importance of incorporating tikanga Māori approaches and promoting the principles of the Three Rs (Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement) in animal research and teaching endeavors.

ANZCCART New Zealand Chair, Emeritus Professor Pat Cragg, commented, "The second Annual Report reflects the collective commitment of signatory organisations to uphold the highest standards of animal welfare and promote openness in research and teaching practices. We commend the efforts of all stakeholders involved and encourage further collaboration to advance our shared goals."

The report also includes recommendations for signatory organisations to enhance their Openness efforts, including the adoption of best practices, improved website accessibility, and the development of policies to facilitate transparent communication.

ANZCCART New Zealand invites other institutions and organisations in New Zealand to join the Openness Agreement and contribute to the nation's continued leadership in animal welfare and scientific research. Organisations interested in becoming signatories can contact anzccart@royalsociety.org.nz for more information.

The full report is available for download on the ANZCCART New Zealand website:
2023 Annual Report: Openness Agreement on Animal Research and Teaching in New Zealand  

Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi