Last month (July 2022) HRA intensified efforts on the Forced to Smoke campaign with a trip to Newcastle where we hosted a community forum for local advocates. Whilst there, HRA CEO Rachel Smith also met with NSW Member for Newcastle and Shadow Minister for Tertiary Education, Tim Crakanthorp MP, who expressed great interest in the campaign and our work.
We are now pleased to say that with the University of Newcastle has confirmed they will no longer be conducting this type of nose-only inhalation research on mice and have decommissioned their nose-only smoke inhalation machine.
HRA made ending forced smoke inhalation studies a priority campaign in 2021, after building on our previous case studies, with a focus on the University of Newcastle as the originator of the nose-only method of smoke exposure for biomedical research in Australia (adapted from a method used in toxicology research). The campaign launch coincided with the release of our report ‘Optimising inhalation research: Transitioning to human-relevant research’ which has been distributed to research institutes across Australia.
In June 2022 HRA decided to reignite the campaign with our Stop Suffocating Progress spike which localised the campaign in Newcastle with digital advertisements, postcards, posters, and a large billboard on a busy road in Newcastle. With highlighted interest during the recent NSW ‘Inquiry into the Use of Primates and Other Animals in Medical Research’ the use of nose-only smoke exposure system was heavily critiqued during the inquiry, including by research scientists and this also helped raise the profile of the campaign.
HRA thanks everyone who has supported the campaign so far and been a player in the win at the University of Newcastle.
Although the nose-only method of smoke inhalation has ceased at the University of Newcastle, there is no prohibition of the procedure being used elsewhere and our investigations show that another NSW research institute is using the same method. This means mice will continue to be forcibly exposed to cigarette smoke or other hazardous inhalants to induce disease.
Humane Research Australia intends to keep this momentum going and work towards change with the remaining Australian universities and research institutes who continue forcing animals to smoke.