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Legal Highs Animal Testing Decision Delayed

Legal Highs Animal Testing Decision Delayed

A decision on if the government will stop animal testing of legal highs has been delayed until the end of March. The Primary Production select committee is currently considering an amendment to the Animal Welfare Bill that would stop all animal testing of legal highs. They were due to report back to parliament on the 27th of February but that has now been delayed until the 28th of March.

The Psychoactive Substances Bill that was introduced last year requires legal high manufacturers to show the drugs are safe before they can be sold. Despite considerable outrage and opposition, the Government has insisted they be allowed to use animal testing to do this.

An amendment put forward by Labour MP Trevor Mallard after an earlier one from Green MP Mojo Mathers narrowly failed to pass, would ensure that only modern non-animal tests could be used. This amendment has been widely supported in submissions to the committee with hundreds in favour and none opposing it. Both of the Ministry of Primary Industries animal advisory committees recommended that the amendment be included in the legislation.

New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society spokesperson Stephen Manson said “We hope that the committee will use these extra four weeks to consider closely the advice of the government advisory committees as well as that from us, all the other organisations and members of the public that made submissions.

“The message they are getting is that New Zealand doesn’t think drug dealers being allowed to use animals to get licences should be an option. They are hearing it from the public that voted them in, every animal advocacy group in the country and now from the government’s own advisory committees.” Mr Manson went on to say.

“Using animals to try and show a legal high is safe for people is dangerous. The tests are unreliable, inconsistent and have been superseded by modern science years ago. Allowing animal tests will make it more likely risky dangerous drugs will make it on to the market. For the sake of people’s safety we hope the National Party MPs listen to the advice of their advisory committees and do what the people of New Zealand want and stop continuing to support animal tests being allowed.”

Information for journalists and editors:

National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee submission: http://www.parliament.nz/resource/0001998314 (see page four)

National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee submission: http://www.parliament.nz/resource/0001998326 (see page five)

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