Animals Set to Die to Test Legal Highs

Posted on by Ashley Fruno

close-up of incision and staples on rat's headThe New Zealand government has ignored calls to leave controversial tests on animals out of the Psychoactive Substances Bill, which effectively sentences animals to death in the name of people’s right to get high legally.

In just one month, nearly 70,000 New Zealanders signed a petition calling for the testing of party pills on animals to be banned. Polls also showed that 75 to 80 percent of the public is opposed to testing these drugs on animals, but sadly, the select committee has chosen to disregard public opinion on this important issue.

The new bill, which aims to regulate psychoactive substances such as party pills or other legal highs in New Zealand, requires that products be proved “safe” for human consumption. Although cheaper and more effective non-animal tests already exist, and despite evidence of the inaccuracy of animal testing, countless animals will now no doubt suffer so that New Zealanders can get high legally.

The idea that animals should suffer and die for such an overwhelmingly unnecessary, commercially driven and morally bankrupt reason as recreational drug use is shocking, and the frustrating truth is that more accurate and cheaper non-animal tests already exist.

Many non-animal tests have been approved by regulatory bodies internationally in both Europe and the US that can be used for all four types of tests that the Ministry of Health was considering. The expert advice that the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society submitted showed that animal tests are based on poor science and inaccurate and that a multitude of modern non-animal tests that yield reliable results are available. These non-animal tests have been approved by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and are in use right now overseas for toxicology testing.

Like cosmetics testing, using animals as subjects to test recreational drug use is shocking and pointless. It’s also ethically and scientifically wrong and could put human consumers at risk. New Zealanders should write to their local MP by 27 June asking them to support an amendment to the act that prohibits animal testing. An easy-to-use e-card can be found here, and contact details for all MPs are available here.

Guest post by PETA Asia-Pacific intern Liselle Finlay