Re-homing of lab tested animals might become mandatory to save them from being put down

Politicians are considering whether to make the re-homing of lab tested animals mandatory to save them from being put down.

At the moment the re-homing of former research animals is left to ethics committees, but advocates now want to make it mandatory.

Campaigners say thousands of animals are needlessly killed every year.

In 2015, 225,310 animals were used in research in New Zealand and 88,200 of them died - but it's not clear how many were euthanised.

The other 137,110 lived - and were either kept by institutes, given to homes, or released into the wild.

MP's have been discussing it today, but are yet to make public their recommendation.

The Ministry for Primary Industries says while it likes the idea, it does not support a mandatory policy - saying the petition hasn't addressed the practicalities involved.

Politicians will report back on the issue in the next few days.

Politicians are considering bringing in the rule. Source: 1 NEWS



Record number of happy punters as two win Powerball, 40 win Lotto first division

There were a lot more ecstatic Kiwi punters than usual last night, with two lucky Powerball players winning $2.5 million each and a record 40 players winning Lotto First Division.

Never before in the Lotto's 31-year history have that many winners been announced in a single draw. The 38 first division winners (without Powerball) will take home $25,000 each.

The winning Powerball tickets were sold at a Countdown supermarket in Hastings and at New Brighton Lotto & Discounter in Christchurch.

It follows a winning $7.2 million Powerball draw just a week earlier, sold from a Pak'n Save in Silverdale. As of yet, however, no one has come forward to claim it.

Some winners might be slightly disappointed by their haul from last night’s draw, while two others claimed over $2.5 million. Source: Breakfast


Strong growth expected in GDP figures to be released this morning

All eyes are on the country's financial performance this morning with economists expecting strong growth.

The latest GDP figures are due for release, with ASB tipping they'll show strong quarterly growth.

Westpac have forecast the annual rate of growth to hold steady at 2.7 percent and both banks are picking a 0.9 per cent rise for the quarter.

Eyes are on the country’s financial performance this morning, with ASB tipping strong quarterly growth. Source: Breakfast

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Aussie scientists make genetic breakthrough in battle to eradicate cane toads

Australia's self-inflicted cane toad invasion may soon be over after scientists cracked the deadly amphibian's DNA code.

International scientists working with UNSW Sydney, the University of Sydney and Deakin University have unlocked more than 90 per cent of the invasive amphibian's genome.

The poisonous toads have wreaked havoc on northern quolls, freshwater crocodiles and several species of native lizards and snakes since their introduction in Queensland in 1935 to help control cane beetles.

Millions of toads now occupy more than 1.2 million square kilometres of Australia following a seemingly unstoppable march across the top end.

Virologist Professor Peter White says despite the pesky cane toad's iconic status there were major gaps in the scientific community's understanding of its genetics.

"But we've now got the blueprint as well as the plans to the factory," he told AAP.

Already Mr White's team has used the toad's genetics to find three new viruses that with further work may become biocontrols to stem the toad's march across the country.

"We're now going to see how prevalent they are in the population, going all the way back to South America, and then we'll see how pathogenic they are," he said.

"Hopefully, they're very pathogenic, and then we can begin testing them."

Mr White said the team needed to be sure any biocontrol created won't affect native amphibians.

"We don't want to introduce anything that's going to kill frogs or newts, it has to be cane toad specific," he said.

Viruses have previously been successfully used to control the European rabbit population.

The findings were published in the academic journal GigaScience.

SYDNEY, NSW - AUGUST 09:  A Cane Toad is exhibited at Taronga Zoo August 9, 2005 in Sydney, Australia. The Cane Toad, which is poisonous, is reportedly being blamed for the deaths of a number of Australia's most dangerous predator, the Salt Water Crocodile. A three-metre long crocodile was found dead by a local crocodile tour operator last week in the Adelaide River, with the tourism operator suspecting the reptile had been poisoned after eating a toad. The director of Wildlife Management International, Graeme Webb, says he suspects that up to "20 to 30 per cent" of fresh water crocodiles will be lost to cane toads in this way.    (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)
Cane toad Source: Getty


'Angel' takes disabled friend on 'wacky' world adventures and is rewarded with $10,000

A young woman who has taken a teenager with cerebral palsy on adventures around the world, donated a kidney to an old school friend and helped many others has been rewarded with $10,000 for more adventures and to look after herself for a change.

Leah Stewart, who's 23, is the winner of this week's ASB Good as Gold award on TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.

Donating an organ and helping others were on a bucket list Leah wrote when she was just 16, and she's doing a pretty good job of ticking them off. 

Nineteen-year-old Alicia Kapa - Leah's best friend - and Mum Joanna Kapa have really appreciated Leah's help.

Joanna explained that Alicia wasn't breathing when she was born and has cerebral palsy as a result of that lack of oxygen. 

"She loves adventure and her and her best mate Leah have travelled around the world and done all sports of crazy, crazy things," Joanna said.

These have included a cruise in the Bahamas, adventures in New York and bungy jumping.

Joanna said it means a huge amount to her that Alicia is "getting out and doing stuff that everybody at her age should be able to do, that she's safe, she hasn't got her mother hanging around with her, which is a big thing".

Alicia agreed with that last point.

She's everything that you would think when you think of an angel - Joanna Kapa

Joanna said Leah is "everything that you would think when you think of an angel".

While Alicia declared: "Leah is an amazing friend to me."

Leah and Alicia's adventures have been documented in videos on their own YouTube channel called 'Wheely Wacky Adventures".

Reporter Sam Wallace surprised Leah in suburban Auckland telling her ASB want to give her $5000 for some more Wheely Wacky Adventures, and $5000 "for you to look after yourself because you never do it".

"That sounds amazing," said a stunned Leah as she hugged Alicia in her wheelchair out on the street, surrounded by friends.

Leah admitted she has helped "a few" people and said just over a year ago she donated her left kidney to a friend from high school and "thinks" she saved her life.

The win will help with a trip she and Alicia booked themselves next week because they were missing each other. 

"And the whole thing went on my credit card because I had no money in the bank. And I knew I had some big student loans coming up. I was planning on calling the IRD on Monday and sorting out one of them," Leah said.

This giving friend can relax a little now - until the next wacky adventure.

Leah Stewart wrote her list when she was 16 and she's doing a pretty good job of ticking them off. Source: Seven Sharp


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