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Animal groups say leave animals out of legal high testing

Monday, 18 March, 2013

Sign the petition

National animal advocacy organisations SAFE, the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) and SPCA New Zealand have joined forces to launch a campaign to prevent the testing of psychoactive drugs ('party pills' or 'legal highs') on animals, saying it is both unethical and unnecessary. Concerned Kiwis are urged to show their opposition to the proposal by signing the petition to leave animals out of legal highs testing.

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SAFE Campaign Manager Mandy Carter says, "We are asking for animals to be left out of these tests. Better alternatives to animal experiments already exist and in the United Kingdom recreational alcohol and tobacco testing on animals is banned. It is totally unacceptable for New Zealand to even be considering this, especially for a recreational drug."

Testing methods being considered by the Government in the recently published draft 'Psychoactive Substances Bill' include experiments using animals. The groups say that any animal tests to check whether party drugs are safe for human consumption would involve suffering and cruelty to both large and small animals such as dogs and rats, and would lead to pain, distress and death. They are urging the public to become involved in stopping them.

NZAVS spokesperson Stephen Manson says, "As a nation of animal lovers, New Zealanders have expressed their outrage that animals could be used to test these drugs and little change has been made in response to that. The Ministry of Health is aware of non-animal testing methods; they just need to ensure that these are the only ones used. The Government has to listen to what the people want and rule out animal testing and our petition is one they must take seriously."

Bob Kerridge, National President of SPCA New Zealand, said today: "The need for experiments on animals has always been of considerable concern to the SPCA, particularly as the sciences have progressed to the point where far more humane alternatives exist. There must be a justifiable reason why animals should be made to suffer as a result of experimentation, and there is certainly no possible justification for them to be used to test 'highs' required by some humans for their 'pleasure' on ethical grounds alone ... it is completely immoral."

SAFE, NZAVS and SPCA New Zealand are urging New Zealanders to sign the petition in Body Shop stores nationwide and other outlets as well as the online petition that supports it (available here).

The initial response has been strong, with over 3000 signatures collected in a few days, even before the official launch. The petition asks Peter Dunne, the Minister responsible, and the New Zealand Parliament, to include a clause specifically prohibiting animal testing in any proposed legislation aimed at the regulation of these substances. The groups will be calling on the public to further fight the proposal when public submissions are called.