AgResearch is conscious of its responsibilities and the need for openness and accountability around our research involving animals. ​Research on animals is only undertaken when there are no practical alternatives and if so, we reduce the number of animals used and the impact of the research on them.

Who we are

The Animal Ethics Office supports the operation of the AgResearch Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) which meets fortnightly:

Jim Webster, Leader Elyssa Barnaby, Animal welfare officer
Vanessa Borman, Coordinator Alaina O'Brien, Animal welfare officer
Sharon Bennie, Administrator Susan Doohan, Animal welfare officer

AgResearch MUST obtain approval from an external and independent AEC for each and every study that involves animals.​​

Independence, composition and operation of an AEC is detailed in the Animal Welfare Act (1999).​​

Members of the public and representatives from the SPCA, NZ Veterinary Association and local bodies form the committee. ​​

AgResearch chairs the committee and must have staff member appointed (e.g. farm manager, scientist) and provides Animal Welfare Officer support.​​

All committee decisions are made by consensus, and the operation of the committee is governed by a Code of Ethical Conduct.

AgResearch Animal Ethics Committee:

AgResearch Chair Local body representative​​
AgResearch Coordinator AgResearch Principal scientist​
NZVA representative​ AgResearch Farm manager​
SPCA representative​ AgResearch Animal welfare officer(s) as advisors

Animal Ethics System, called ~ Te Ara ~

~ Te Ara ~ meaning the pathway, is our animal ethics interface between applicants and the AEC, providing support to both.

Click below to login to

Animal Ethics | ~ Te Ara ~

What we do

We are conscious of our responsibilities and the need for openness and accountability around our research involving animals. ​

We undertake research on animals only when there are no alternatives and if so, we reduce the numbers of animals used and impact on them as much as possible.

AgResearch undertakes research on small and large animals and when it does, it meets stringent welfare, safety and ethics standards.

All research carried out by AgResearch involving animals is done under approval from an independent Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) in line with the Animal Welfare Act (1999: Part 6).

All research using animals must be undertaken under a Code of Ethical Conduct and approved by an AEC.

The operation of the AgResearch AEC is detailed in this Code of Ethical Conduct which is approved by the Ministry for Primary Industries.​

Researchers are required to minimise the ethical cost of animal use by applying the 3R's -replacement, reduction and refinement.​

Approval is given for research to proceed only when there are clear benefits that outweigh any impact to the animals.​

AgResearch provides advice and secure external access to our Animal Ethics System ~ Te Ara ~ for other organisations within New Zealand who wish to undertake research using animals, and who do not have their own AEC.

For assistance gaining access to this system, please contact us.


  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Why is ethical approval required to do research on animals?

    Using animals for research testing and teaching is tightly controlled. The benefits must be clear and justified to outweigh the impact to the animal. The law in New Zealand requires approval from an Animal Ethics committee if you wish to undertake any of these activities on a sentient animal defined under the Animal Welfare Act. ​

    How do I find out if the activities I am planning require ethics approval?

    The National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee has produced a checklist to help with this and if you still have questions we would be happy to discuss with you confidentially.​

    How do I go about getting ethical approval?

    You can either create and obtain approval for your Code of Ethical Conduct and operate an Animal Ethics Committee under that approval or ‘Parent’ to another organisation that has these.​

    We are happy to provide guidance on either of these options.​

    In what ways can the AgResearch Animal Ethics Office help me obtain ethical approval?

    We provide a confidential online database for creation of applications, communication and reporting.​

    We can assist with the creation of you application, providing, veterinary, scientific and biometrical advise. ​

    We will guide your application through the submission process to the Animal Ethics Committee and provide feedback from the committee as required.​

    We can assist with reporting requirements to the Animal Ethics Committee and to MPI.​

    Where can I find out more about how AgResearch carries out research using animals?

    You can check our Openness page for all our activities in this area or look for other Research stories on the ‘Our Science’ and ‘News’ pages of the AgResearch site.​

    If you still have questions, feel free to contact us.

Code of Conduct for the use of animals for research, testing and teaching

Download (pdf 264 KB)

Contact us

In the first instance, please email us.

For urgent enquiries regarding animal ethics, please contact Dr. Jim Webster call 029 838 5574.

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Send an email to one of our team or check out our facilities located across Aotearoa New Zealand.

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