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Openness agreement in New Zealand

Updated: Jul 28, 2021

New Transparency Agreement by New Zealand biomedical community makes commitment to openness about animal research

New Zealand has become the seventh country worldwide and the first outside Europe to establish an animal research openness agreement. Launched today (27 July 2021) at the Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching (ANZCCART) 2021 conference, the Openness Agreement on Animal Research and Teaching in New Zealand has been signed by 21 universities, research centres, government bodies, funding organisations and learned societies (see list below).

The objective of the agreement is to ensure that the public are well informed about animal research (including the benefits, harms, and limitations). Topics such as the role animal research plays in the process of scientific discovery, how research is regulated in New Zealand, and what researchers and animal care staff do to promote positive animal welfare will be communicated, as well as the important steps being taken to find non-animal alternatives for research.

Developed by ANZCCART and the Royal Society Te Apārangi, the agreement is modelled on the UK’s Concordat on openness on animal research as well as similar agreements in Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain, with the assistance of the European Animal Research Association (EARA).

Welcoming the agreement Kirk Leech, EARA executive director, said: “Congratulations to the 21 NZ signatory institutions for their commitment to being open and transparent about the use of animals in research.

“We are now seeing a truly worldwide movement to explain to the public in clear terms the role of animal models in biomedical research.”

New Zealand has long been committed to maintaining and improving high standards of animal welfare, as well as undertaking world-leading research and teaching using animals, controlled under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

Professor Pat Cragg, chair of the New Zealand Board of ANZCCART, an EARA partner, said: “Public confidence in animal research depends on the scientific community taking part in an on-going conversation about why, and how animals are used. Through signing this openness agreement, the signatory organisations have committed to having this conversation with the public."

Dr Jodi Salinsky, Animal Welfare Officer and University Veterinarian, University of Auckland and chair of the Openness Agreement Working Group, said: “This will help organisations that conduct, fund or support animal research communicate about the crucial work that is being done on the public’s behalf, by dedicated researchers, technicians and animal care staff. The judicious use of animals in research remains vital to scientific, medical, and veterinary progress.

“There is no better time than the current pandemic to help our community understand the important contribution of this work.”

The inaugural signatories are:

AgResearch; ANZLAA; AstraZeneca; Auckland Zoo; AUT; Callaghan Innovation; Department of Conservation; Lincoln University; Malaghan Institute; Massey University; New Zealand Veterinary Association; NIWA; Otago Medical Research Foundation; Royal Society Te Apārangi; SPCA NZ; Te Pukenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology; University of Auckland; University of Canterbury; University of Otago; University of Waikato Victoria University of Wellington – Te Herenga Waka;

For more information: Nancy de Bueger, senior communications and digital engagement advisor, Royal Society Te Apārangi, 04 470 5807, 027 458 8982



ANZCCART is an independent body which was established to provide a focus for consideration of the scientific, ethical and social issues associated with the use of animals in research and teaching in Australia and New Zealand

About Royal Society Te Apārangi

Royal Society Te Apārangi is an independent not-for-profit organisation that supports all New Zealanders to explore, discover and share knowledge

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