Animals will have suffered as a result of a parasitic worm
outbreak in a University of Otago testing facility, Save
Animals From Exploitation (Safe) says.
The concern comes after the university last week revealed it
was considering shifting its animal testing labs into the
Sayers Building after animals were recently infected with a
type of parasitic worm.
Safe head of campaigns Mandy Carter said it was worried about
the conditions animals were being kept in at Otago
''They are suffering with parasitic worms and not just the
tests that are going on, which are often quite gruesome
Safe, which was against animal testing completely, was also
disappointed Otago University did not use this as an
opportunity to scale back animal testing. It was also worried
about what would happen to animals found to have contracted
''If they become infected with something that's unrelated to
the [research] being tested on it would compromise the
The fact the university was considering moving the whole
facility suggested the outbreak was ''pretty major'', she
A university spokeswoman said it had resolved the parasitic
worm outbreak by treating the infected animals.
''A new facility is a response to older facilities that are
approaching the end of their usable life span.
''It will help to minimise the possibility of infections and
will allow us to continue and maintain research of the
highest quality,'' she said.
Asked if the infected animals compromised research, she said
the university regularly carried out screening of its animals
and researchers were informed of the results.
Infected animals were treated to remove the worms.
The university aimed to reduce animal usage, where it could.
It previously said its animal research facilities underpinned
about $20 million of annual research activity ''focused on
important health and biomedical questions''.