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  • In this activity, students consider the use of mice for bioassays and in establishing the lethal dose when researching/testing toxins. They consider the rights and responsibilities of all those affected by these methods and make a decision as to whether mice should be used in researching and testing for toxins.

    Mouse bioassays

    Paul McNabb of the Cawthron Institute in Nelson explains what a mouse bioassay is.

    Select here to view video transcript and copyright information.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • identify the use of animals in research or testing as a controversial issue
    • demonstrate a scientific understanding of the controversial issue
    • make a decision as to whether mice should be used in testing for toxins and be able to justify their decision.

    Download the Word file (see link below) for:

    • introduction/background notes
    • what you need
    • what to do
    • student handout.

    Related content

    Ethics and research animals is a class case study of using animals in research in a year 7–8 class.

    Explore why dogs died on Auckland beaches in 2009 and meet the most poisonous creature in New Zealand – the grey side-gilled sea slug! Find out how the scientists collaborate with others – particularly iwi – to help keep people safe from toxins found in kaimoana. Take a look at how shellfish are monitored for toxins.

    The Ethics thinking tool uses common ethical frameworks to help you explore ethical decision-making and judgements with your students.

    Useful links

    Read about legal aspects of animal welfare on the Ministry for Primary Industries website.

    A New Zealand Herald article about animal use at Otago University: University’s death toll – 25,000 animals in 2 years and a response by Siouxsie Wiles.

    An Otago Daily Times article about who uses animals in testing.

      Published 4 September 2012, Updated 10 October 2014 Referencing Hub articles
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