(64) 3 325 3820
PO Box 85084, Lincoln 7647
Christchurch, New Zealand
15 September 2020
New Zealand Anti-vivisection Society Inc
PO Box 9387
By email: [email address]
Tēnā koe Tara Jackson
Official Information request
I write in response to your official information request of 9 September 2020 for the approved
Animal Ethics Committee application for the use of “other species” in high impact studies in
We can confirm that 24 stoats were used in one high impact study published in 2018 entitled
“Testing the effectiveness of a long-life PAPP bait for stoat control”.
Lincoln University is withholding the Animal Ethics application regarding this study under
section 6(d) of the Official Information Act 1982, as the University considers that making the
information available would be likely to endanger the safety of individuals, given the use of
similar information in the past. This is not intended as a reflection on your Society’s activities.
Under section 6(d), the University is not required to consider whether the interest in
withholding is outweighed by countervailing public interest considerations.
The information is also withheld under section 9(2)(g)(ii) of the Official Information Act 1982,
protecting University employees and researchers from improper pressure or harassment.
Lincoln University is of a size that public release of such material will more easily lead to the
identification of staff, if they had not already been specifically identified in the applications.
Given past experience, this identification would open staff up to improper pressure and
harassment from certain members of the public. Improper pressure and harassment would
affect the way staff perform their duties and would therefore have a detrimental effect on the
conduct of public affairs by the University. This would also lead to difficulties in recruiting
suitable staff to monitor the compliance of projects in respect to animal welfare. Lincoln
University has an obligation to prevent staff in any situation receiving improper pressure or
We also withhold the information under section 9(2)(ba) of the Official Information Act. As
stated above, making animal ethics applications public would be likely to prejudice the supply
of similar information. It is in the public interest for Animal Ethics Committees to robustly apply
the Animal Welfare Act and be enabled to make decisions based on a sound understanding
of a situation. Applicants should feel comfortable in providing any and all information required
to provide an Animal Ethics Committee an accurate decision making basis. Such information
would inevitably include information that would affront some individuals. If an applicant felt
that the potential disclosure of information to the public could open them up to harassment,
they may be hesitant in providing such information to an Animal Ethics Committee. This would
impair a Committee's decision-making ability and ability to ensure the Animal Welfare Act is
In the University’s view, the public interest is served by the annual notification of the numbers
of animals used in research, testing and teaching through the National Animal Ethics Advisory
Committee Annual Report. The University ensures that any research, testing or teaching
involving live animals complies fully with the requirements of Part 6 of the Animal Welfare Act
1999 and is approved by an Animal Ethics Committee.
If you wish to discuss this decision, please contact the undersigned.
Please note that you are entitled under section 28 of the Official Information Act 1982, to have
this response reviewed by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Nāku noa, nā
Director, Governance and Legal
T: 03 421 5454
E: [email address]