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Animal advocates preparing to rally again over testing

Animal advocates preparing to rally again over party pill testing

A government report has sparked controversy by mentioning the possibility of testing party pills on animals. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) says that any attempt to test recreational drugs on animals will be met with fierce resistance.

“We are reminding the government that if they start testing party pills on innocent animals, they will be met with public outrage. Collectively New Zealand defeated the last government’s attempts to use animal experiments for party pills, and we will do so again if we need to,” says NZAVS Executive Director, Tara Jackson.

“The very idea of testing party pills on animals is absurd. No amount of testing on rats and dogs, who have biology very different from our own, is going to make it safe to take recreational drugs like synthetic cannabis,” said Miss Jackson.

The Psychoactive Substances Act was passed in 2013 but included a prohibition on animal testing after a fierce campaign from animal lovers across the country. A petition over 60,000 signatures strong was presented to Parliament and public demonstrations took place in many cities across NZ. The government eventually caved to the pressure and prohibited the testing of psychoactive substances on animals.

Helping You Help Animals (HUHA) organised and led many of these national protests. “Even the slight murmur of animal tests being reintroduced has us on alert and ready to take to the streets again,” says HUHA Director, Carolyn Press-McKenzie.

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The Act included a clause that it must be reviewed within five years. The review found that the Act has failed, and blamed part of that failure on the failure to use animal tests in safety testing. The review did not include a wider scope of non-animal-based test methods to the Act, however. This means that the officials would not necessarily have considered other options. They could only consider the scope of the Act.

“We fully support the government’s desire to minimise harm to humans, but they cannot do that by testing these drugs on animals. We are launching a campaign calling on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to tell her Ministers to keep the focus on alternative methods of reducing harm and pursuing other means of reducing drug harm.” says Jackson.

NZAVS has launched an email campaign targeting the Prime Minister to get her to commit to keep party pills away from animals. It is available on their website -


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