The subject matter, of experimenting on animals that have no voice, gives cause to wonder what we are doing as a so-called civilisation.
Where does mindfulness and a duty of care come into it? But more so - compassion?
Especially here in NZ where most New Zealanders have a cat or dog or a pet of some kind. But, it's a harsh reality when animals are treated with a certain
disdain when money power and profits are concerned. Just look into the eye of that forlorn guinea pig in this graphic.
Tara is the CEO of the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) and having a degree in Zoology wants to do what she can to educate the public so as
the animal kingdom is not exploited by both pain and money.
On average over 300,000 animals are used in vivisection in New Zealand each year. These experiments are performed in universities, schools, polytechnics,
commercial laboratories, government departments and ministries.
The species used include hamsters, mice, rats, guinea-pigs, sheep, cattle, goats, birds, fish, alpaca, buffalo, cats, deer, dogs, donkeys, horses, pigs,
Farm animals are experimented on to make them grow faster, have more babies, use their food more efficiently, or to change the quality of their milk. Plus,
there are cruel genetic modification and cloning experiments going on that we the public have really no idea what’s happening.
From her studies of animals she says it is impossible to use one complex system to predict the outcomes of another complex system. Every animal species is different,
That her strong passion for valid science and her obvious strong commitment for animal rights - combined together has pushed her into her current role,
where she has in a little over 4 years embedded her ideals into NZAVS.org.nz
Tara feels she wants to continue what Bet Everell did and work towards ending animal experiments in NZ. Betty Overell - was the person to really bring
this issue to the public consciousness across New Zealand. When in 1989 she led a march to Parliament with a further Petition, signed by 100,640 New
Zealanders demanding the abolition of all experiments on animals after obtaining affidavits from doctors all over the world who claim vivisection is
medically and scientifically invalid.
Bette Overell is recognised internationally for her work in the new abolitionist movement.
So how is NZ progressing with regard to animal welfare?
A Brief History of Animal Welfare that influenced NZ
Henry Stephens Salt 20 Sept 1851 – 19 April 1939 (born in India, to British parents) who when in England, formed the Humanitarian League in 1891. Its aims
were to enforce the principle that it is iniquitous to inflict avoidable suffering on any sentient being. Its objectives included the banning of vivisection
as well as hunting as a sport. It was Salt who first introduced Mohandas Gandhi to the influential works of Henry David Thoreau, and influenced Gandhi's
study of vegetarianism.
His views were reported widely, including in New Zealand.
There was a compassionate, philosophical article in the NZ Herald on the 11th June 1890 by Jon Abbott of St Georges Bay Road, Parnell Auckland calling
for a halt to the cruelty of Vivisection - yet his was truly a voice in the wilderness in those days.
New Zealand Organisations
Once it became clear that animal experiments were occurring in New Zealand at medical schools and agricultural research stations, anti-vivisectionists
began to organise. The first anti-vivisection society had been set up in Auckland by 1930, and branches of the BUAV British Union for the Abolition
of Vivisection were established in other centres by the 1940s. In 1944 the Council of Combined Animal Welfare Organisations (CAWO) was formed. This
was a coalition of Theosophists, anti-vivisection leagues and the newly established Vegetarian Society, led by Theosophist Geoffrey Hodson. In its
advocacy of animal welfare measures CAWO had much in common with the SPCA, but it had a no-compromise stance on vivisection.
In New Zealand there was some interest in the cause, and vivisection was occasionally debated. A few groups including feminist organisations and many Theosophical
Society members condemned it, but the SPCA members had a range of views from total opposition to reluctant acceptance.
Gains and Losses
CAWO was successful in campaigning for regulations governing humane slaughter, and the outlawing of the sports of hare coursing and captive pigeon shooting.
However, its anti-vivisection aspirations were thwarted by the Animals Protection Act 1960 which, although it introduced many reforms, made animal
This Interview Covers
Where we are today in 2018?
Vivisection Is Still Happening!
Today there are now many different models for learning about dissections without going out and getting a lab rat to dissect and cut up. That there are
sophisticated as well as simple anatomical models here today and Tara says that dissections could have been halted yesterday.
Massey University Veterinary Department is seen as very progressive and up there as leaders - but Tara cautions by saying Massey in other
areas still uses some highly invasive purposes, never-the-less.
But the Veterinary Clinical Training Room for vets has high quality mannequins of all different species to use. Even giant horse mannequins that can mimic
certain disorders so that students can pick up and learn from.
They have fake dogs (robots) that mimic certain heart conditions that students can listen for also.
But there is not yet enough of this across NZ.
Testing Drugs On Animals
In this interview we learn that using animal studies, like testing drugs on them does not give in any way a true measure that these said drugs will have
a positive effect on a human. This is a proven fact. Animals and humans are vastly different and cannot be used for predicting human outcomes. There
are study after studies proving that experimenting on animals have no relationship to how these drugs will react on humans.
In 2006, the TGN1412 drug that was used, created the opposite effect in humans as it did in animals - and people were left with organ damage.
Thalidomide drugs were tested on animals with no side effects but caused tragic results in humans.
Other incidents of humans illness resulting from drugs that have been ‘successfully’ tested on animals have been discretely silenced. There have been many adverse side effects to people, but these results are gagged by confidentiality clauses where big Pharma - closes the whole subject down. This in itself is criminal where vast amounts of money is used to quash any negative results silencing the whole concern
- to not even cause a ripple throughout society.
Otago University comes in for some bad vibes as not being conscious of animal rights or mindfulness - and are thus seen as dragging the chain in this regard.
This is a result of blacking out all the windows of the animal lab on the 5th floor of the Hercus building in Dunedin, where on the top floor the animals
are kept. Why blackout windows? - Animals need as much natural light as possible too.
Often, activists have to use the Official Information Act to find out what is actually happening
Tara says that it’s very difficult to get information especially as to what private companies are doing behind closed doors.
Other Topics Covered:
Support for stopping vivisection continues from within NZ with concerned public helping over long time periods, going back to the 1970’s and 80s.
As this is seen as an ongoing important issue that many people contribute to - for their whole life.
Cosmetics testing on animals - Is now banned in NZ
But not the ban on importation of cosmetics that have been tested on animals
Plus NZ has banned psychoactive substances being used on animals - There was a huge rally all over NZ along with HUHA support: https://huha.org.nz/
There has been a Ban on the - Draize test - https://www.neavs.org/research/what-is-the-draize-test - a cruel test done normally in rabbits where chemicals
are poured into their open eyes and on the skin of rabbits - listen
There has been a special children’s book written - called “The 6 Foot Rats" - presently in process to being sent to every school in NZ.
It’s an important and powerful educational tool disguised as a fun and colourful children's book, by local artist Rebecca Gibbs.
Also mentioned in the interview - Anita Roddick - founder of the Body Shop. The Body Shop was the first global beauty brand to fight against animal testing
in cosmetics and was the first company to be certified with the Leaping Bunny logo in 1997.
China comes up as not focussing on animal experiments and cosmetics been sold into China. So China needs to be nudged into eliminating all types of experiments
NZ.Lush.com - comes in for a warm ‘shout out’ as it does not sell its products into China. Tara states that they are very good people
who donate to animal groups that work towards freeing up animals from experimentation.
That today 100 million animals in the USA alone are being used in experiments
Note that corporations who say they do not experiment on animals UNLESS required by law - means that they sell into China - that they are not walking their
Dr Ray Greek is a global champion for the cause. http://animalvoices.org/2017/07/drraygreek/
Why Animal Testing is Ineffective for Preventing and Curing Human Diseases.
The New Biomed 21 group are a more humane health organisation who bring scientists and institutions from around the world to work towards more benevolent
ways of researching and testing products for human health.
Ricky Gervais - Comedian and well known world personality, is one of the more stronger advocates on the world stage who speaks out on behalf of animals.
New Zealand Politics
Mojo Mathers - Green - initiated the ban on animal testing for cosmetics in NZ.
Gareth Hughes - Green - is prepared to speak up on this issue too.
Jo Luxton - Labour - in the past rescued an ex lab rat.
The DARK SIDE
Unwanted Chickens are killed by a conveyor belt - especially if males and don’t lay eggs.
Chooks still in cages today - a horror story laying eggs for unconscious buyers - the chickens are bred and designed to be trapped in
their own bodies and then in tiny, tiny cages to live and lay eggs as part of one large computerised, factory, industrial system. With no sunlight,
rain or wind, or soil beneath their feet
Cows in NZ are expedient too. Whereas 60 years ago a cow would live to be 13 to 14 years of age - today they are basically exhausted at 4 and a half years
old and so are sent to the freezing works. However, they are being experimented on too. - listen
Vegan and Vegetarian choices - Tara is a vegan (and I myself, have not been a red meat eater or eaten poultry for 41 years.)
Also mentioned is Geoffrey Hodson who spent his last years living in NZ, giving lectures and sharing his knowledge.
Geoffrey Hodson. Was a clairvoyant who could see the dark 'thought forms’ above all freezing works or abattoirs across NZ - he realised clearly that animals
had a soul or group consciousness. As a Theosophist in those days - he understood that animals were sentient beings and needed to be treated with respect.
He was one of the few people on earth at the time who could see through the veils of the world into different, higher realms.
A very thought provoking interview from a strong and articulate advocate that needs to be shared across greater NZ and beyond.