Many kinds of animal research are occurring in New South Wales (NSW), with biomedical research among the most prominent. As behavioural neuroscientists, we study the neural mechanisms of motivation and cognition in rodents, which is important for developing new treatments for a range of psychological disorders, such as substance use disorder, as well as neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The welfare and wellbeing of the animals we study is of critical importance, not only to ensure the quality of our data but to our sense of morality as compassionate human beings. Biomedical animal research is highly regulated and the pharmacological and biological tools we use pose negligible risks to the public. Meanwhile, our research brings enormous benefits to NSW by building expertise and supporting biotechnology companies.
Although research on complex behaviours cannot be replaced by non-animal procedures, we believe that there is much scope for refinement and improvement in animal welfare in NSW. For example, investing in a local breeding facility to produce animals used in NSW research projects would significantly reduce the stress associated with importing animals from interstate or overseas. Additionally, standard animal housing could be improved through targeted and ongoing investment to refit animal facilities and support additional caretaker and veterinary staff to provide higher degrees of welfare.
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