Animal research

Scientific organizations pledge to be open in animal research and education in New Zealand

21 universities, institutes of technology, nonprofits, crown research institutes, government organizations, coordinating bodies, research funding bodies, and learned societies are committed to communicating openly about the use of animals.

New Zealand will be the first country outside of Europe to sign an opening-up agreement on animal research, launched today in Queenstown at the 2021 Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research conference and education (ANZCCART).

New Zealand has long been committed to maintaining and improving high standards of animal welfare, as well as undertaking cutting-edge research and teaching using animals, controlled under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. The New Zealand scientific community recognizes the importance of demonstrating and promoting values ​​that contribute to these animal welfare standards.

The objective of the Opening Agreement on Animal Research and Education in New Zealand is to ensure that the public is well informed about animal research (including the advantages, disadvantages and limitations). Topics such as the role animal research plays in the scientific discovery process, how research is regulated in New Zealand, and what researchers and caregivers do to promote positive animal welfare should be addressed. . Communication should be realistic about the ethical considerations involved (including that of the 3Rs of replacement, reduction and refinement). Research is carried out with the aim of benefiting humans, animals and the environment.

New Zealand deal builds on the groundbreaking 2014 UK accord Concordat on opening up to animal research led by Understanding Animal Research. Similar agreements followed in Spain, Portugal, Belgium and France, with the help of the European Association for Animal Research. The New Zealand Board of ANZCCART gratefully acknowledges the hard work of these organizations as they continue to inform and support progress on these issues in Aotearoa New Zealand and this led opening agreement initiative. by ANZCCART.

Professor Pat Cragg, Chairman of the New Zealand Board of ANZCCART and Acting (Academic) Vice-Chancellor of the University of Otago, said: “Public confidence in animal research depends on participation of the scientific community in an ongoing conversation about why, and how, animals are used. By signing this opening agreement, the signatory organizations have committed to having this conversation with the public.
“When the British Concordat was launched, responses from New Zealand delegates were mixed. Responses ranged from “yes, we have to do that too” to “let’s be very careful about this”.

“When I returned to the New Zealand board as chairman in early 2020, I was delighted to see that such an agreement was on track. Now, seven years after the Concordat, the New Zealand Opening Agreement is ready to go. We must congratulate the working group and the many institutions involved in the consultation phase who worked tirelessly to bring this agreement to fruition. Being open about why and how we use animals in research and education is so important, ”said Prof Cragg.

Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles, a microbiologist and animal researcher at the University of Auckland, said:

“I am delighted that Aotearoa New Zealand finally has an opening agreement and applaud the many organizations and institutions that have signed it. I hope the Accord will encourage and support researchers and organizations to be more open about their work involving animals. In doing so, the public will be better informed not only of the incredible research being carried out in New Zealand for the benefit of humans and animals, but also of the dedication and care of the many researchers and technical staff involved. “

Dr Jodi Salinsky, Head of Animal Welfare and University Veterinarian, University of Auckland and Chair of the Opening Agreement Working Group, said: “We are delighted to launch the Opening Agreement in Aotearoa in New Zealand. This will help organizations that conduct, fund or support animal research communicate about the crucial work that is being done on behalf of the public, by dedicated researchers, technicians and animal care staff. The judicious use of animals in research remains vital for 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. We look forward to the day when animals are no longer needed and honor animals for the progress made in finding treatments, vaccinations and cures for disease. “

the Opening Agreement on Animal Research and Education in New Zealand is published today (July 27, 2021), signed by 21 organizations in the scientific sector that carry out, finance or support the use of animals in research or education.

These 21 signatories formally accepted the Opening agreement five commitments:

  1. We will clearly explain why and how we use animals in research and education
  2. We will improve our communications with the media and the public about our use of animals in research and education
  3. We will improve our communications with tangata whenua regarding our use of animals in research and education
  4. We will be proactive in providing opportunities for the public to learn about research and education using animals
  5. We will report on progress every year and share our experiences

Under each of the commitments are actions signatories can take to meet them, such as identifying spokespersons who will answer questions about an organization’s use of animals; support researchers who wish to talk about their work using animals; including information on the role animal research has played in announcing scientific advancements, and providing real-life images and videos of animal research.

Opening agreement

was prepared by a working group representing 13 organizations, including universities, leading scientific bodies, Crown research institutes, non-profit organizations and a multinational biopharmaceutical company. The reviews were provided by the ANZCCART NZ Board of Directors and a twelve-week public consultation took place in early 2021.

Other organizations that conduct, fund or support animal research in any way are welcome to sign the Opening Agreement at any time.

The first signatories are:

Agricultural research



Auckland Zoo


Callaghan innovation

Department of Conservation

Lincoln University

Malaga Medical Research Institute

Massey University

New Zealand Veterinary Association


Otago Medical Research Foundation

Royal Society Te Apārangi

SPCA New Zealand

Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington

Te Pukenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology

Auckland University

Canterbury University

University of Otago

Waikato University

A copy of
Opening Agreement on Animal Research and Education in New Zealand will be available at

Background information


ANZCCART is an independent body that was created to focus on the scientific, ethical and social issues associated with the use of animals in research and education in Australia and New Zealand.

ANZCCART (NZ) is a special committee of the Royal Society Te Apārangi.

About the Te Apārangi Royal Society

Royal Society Te Apārangi is an independent, non-profit organization that helps all New Zealanders explore, discover and share their knowledge.

Its diverse programs provide funding and learning opportunities for researchers, teachers and students, as well as those who are just curious about the world.

To celebrate the discoveries of New Zealand researchers, the Society awards medals and elects Fellows, who are leaders in their field.

These experts help the Company provide independent advice to New Zealanders and the government on matters of public interest.

The Society has an extensive network of members and friends across New Zealand and invites all who appreciate the work New Zealanders do in exploring, discovering and sharing knowledge to join them.

To discover more visit

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