Concern at Otago University's new animal research facility

  • 11/05/2016
An artist's impression of the facility (Supplied)
An artist's impression of the facility (Supplied)

Otago University is pouring $50 million into a new state-of-the-art animal research building, but there's already a campaign to stop it.

The facility is part of a wider $600 million investment into programme of modernisation and centralisation at the university.

It will support a wide range of research projects across the university as well as be a space for teaching.

Deputy vice-chancellor for research and enterprise, Professor Richard Blaikie, says the current animal research facility is spread out over the campus and is 50 years old.

The animals used in the programme are to help medical students understand diseases and issues related to humans including cancer, obesity, neuroscience, and diabetes.

Prof Blaikie says the benefits from the research, particularly in those biomedical areas, is important and can be developed into treatment and therapy for people.

However, an animal rights group is appalled by the investment. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society's Stephen Manson says it should be moving away from animal testing.

"The University of Otago, and New Zealand science, would be much better advanced by the $50 million being spent to develop a new facility embracing human-based research methods."

"Otago should be investing in the best 21st century technology available rather than entrenching the failed and outdated reliance on animal models," he says.

Mr Manson is urging the public to get behind the group's efforts to stop the new premises being built.

The research building is scheduled to be completed by 2018 and Prof Blaikie hopes the commitment to invest in new facilities will attract people to study at Otago University.