The treatment of animals used in research is controlled by strict ethical guidelines, and AgResearch is proud that possums tend to live longer in their breeding facility than they would if they were out in the wild. Dr Doug Eckery talks more about the ethics of using animals in scientific research.
Controlling pest numbers is also an ethical issue. One of the advantages of usingto affect possum fertility is that it will be more humane than poisoning or trapping is.
Dr Doug Eckery (
The ethics side for the animals, because we are using these animals in the experiments. The use of those animals has to be approved to an ethics committee, and so that’s what we do. And we take that very seriously, and we try to minimise the number of animals that we do use, and do everything in as a humane away as possible. In fact as biological control goes that’s one of the perceived advantages of biological controls, at least fertility control, is that it does introduce an element of humaneness to the management of this pest. So the animal is perfectly healthy, but its just infertile.