Australian regulations. Lady Justice with scales containing animals and a background of Australian map

Lost Opportunity for Animals in Laboratories in New South Wales

The NSW Government has issued a lacklustre response to the Inquiry into the use of primates and other animals in medical research in New South Wales, failing to commit to the recommendations made by an all-party committee.

On the basis of evidence provided to the Inquiry, the Committee recommended phase out of the forced swim test and nose-only smoke exposure research, commitment of funding to enable the establishment and operation of a national flagship 3Rs research centre, training support to members of animal ethics committees, review of the National Code regulating animal research, and measures to enhance transparency, strengthen compliance and encourage national consistency in reporting.

Only one of the recommendations, that the NSW Government report annually on the amount of government funding given to the use of animals in medical research and funding given to the development of alternatives, is supported by the NSW Government. The remaining recommendations are ‘noted’ or ‘supported in principle’, with no concrete action committed to.

Of grave disappointment is the failure of the NSW Government to commit to a phase out of cruel and unscientific forced inhalation tests and the forced swim test, which was the foremost recommendation resulting from the Inquiry, instead deferring to existing guidelines which permit such tests to be conducted, albeit with more stringent criteria.

Notably, recommendations supported by those supportive of and opposed to animal research alike, such as increased funding for audits, measures to ensure national consistency, increased transparency, and the establishment of a national flagship 3Rs research centre in NSW, have not been adopted.

HRA CEO Rachel Smith states ‘The Inquiry revealed shocking inadequacies in the NSW regulatory system. The Government response is an insult to the many witnesses who gave evidence and the hundreds of concerned individuals who took the time to make a submission, not least to the animals suffering in NSW research facilities, and patients dependent on effective medical research. NSW had the opportunity to lead the country in both progressing animal welfare and advancing the translational value of research. Where other nations push ahead in investing in non-animal methods, the NSW Government seems intent to maintain the status quo’.

Whilst the Government response is extremely disheartening, HRA stands strong to continue to advocate for an end to animal experimentation.

Read HRA’s submission to the Inquiry here.


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