by Steffan Browning
The closing down of Valley Animal Research Centre’s (VARC) experimental beagle operation must be just the beginning of closing down inhumane animal experiments throughout New Zealand. The last available statistics (2010) show that at least 56,208 animals suffered medium to very high impact in New Zealand animal experiments in just one year. Secrecy around animal experiments suppresses the full barbarism of those experiments and is in place to keep public outcry to a minimum.
VARC, based in facilities in Manawatu and Hawkes Bay, had been experimenting on beagles and was also supplying beagles to other experimenters. SAFE have campaigned vigorously against the VARC facilities, and at Parliament in April last year, then Green MP, Sue Kedgley received SAFE’s 12,000 strong petition against animal research on cats and dogs. SAFE deserve a big pat on the back, as it appears that VARC’s inhumane operation has now effectively collapsed.
Secrecy around animal experiments must be blown open and VARC were prize examples of why. VARC’s public statements said that there were not animal deaths at their facility, but the very first records eventually obtained showed 33 experimental deaths. Media follow up clearly shows that there have been more. The public deserves to know what is going on, so that animal welfare and rights can be discussed with full facts openly, and unnecessary pain, suffering and death of animals is stopped.