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Animals to be tortured for Legal High tests

Animals to be tortured for Legal High tests

By Sebastian Mackay
March 22nd 2013

Warning: Article contains images of animal torture.

Animals are to be used in the testing of “legal highs”. Rats and dogs will be used to determine the negative effects of the psychoactive drugs.

According to SAFE, more than 350,000 animals were used for tests last year.

Mandy Carter, the campaign manager for SAFE, says there are alternatives and the Government is well aware of them. “There are cell cultures, bacteria or advanced computer modeling” methods that have been proven safe.

Details of exactly how the tests will be performed haven’t been released but Carter says the drugs can be administered orally. “They are force-fed, smoke can be inhaled or the drug can be administered under the skin.”

The tests are gruesome and rigorous. Carter says tests last between one and three months and the animal is given an increased dosage each day.

Side effects include,“chemical overdoses, increased aggression and blood pressure, damage to tissue, comas and death” says Carter.

After the tests are completed the animals are killed and their tissue is studied for the side effects.

SAFE, alongside the SPCA and the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society, are calling for people to sign a petition against the testing.

They are also urging people to make submissions to the select committee. “They can copy ours or write their own” says Carter, “the Government are legally required to read every single one they get.”

Stephen Mason, the national office manager of NZAVS, says the petition will continue after the select committee has read the submissions.

“The petition will end at the end of April at the earliest” says Mason, “[and the] submission period is expected to be four weeks from late March to early April.

An email released under the Official Information Act has confirmed that the LD50 test, which determines the dosage that will kill an animal, will not be used.

Peter Dunne, the associate health minister, could not be reached for comment.

Beagle undergoing toxicology test. Credit: SHAC (

Beagles used for testing. Credit: SHAC

Puppy forced to inhale toxic smoke. Credit: SHAC


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