29 Aug 2013

Parliament asked to ban testing legal highs on animals

8:34 pm on 29 August 2013

Parliament is again being asked to consider banning the testing of legal highs on animals.

The Government recently made it illegal to sell party pills and synthetic cannabis without an approved licence, once the products were proved to be safe. Animal testing was part of that debate.

The law put in place some provisions regarding animal testing: for example that it could take place only if there were no reasonable alternatives.

Labour and ACT wanted it banned altogether. Labour MP Trevor Mallard says an amendment to a new animal welfare bill debated in Parliament on Thursday morning would do just that.

He says the Government was on the wrong side of public opinion when it refused to ban animal testing in the first place.

The bill will now go to a select committee where the public can present their views on the legislation and the proposed amendment on animal testing.

The Government says it has not changed its stance on the testing of legal highs on animals, despite agreeing to air the issue at select committee.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says he's personally not comfortable with testing legal highs on animals and it's worth being reviewed by the committee, where a wide range of views will be presented.

"We haven't reviewed the Animal Welfare Act for about 14 years so it's appropriate now that we modernise it and also strengthen it."

Mr Guy says he's received dozens of emails over the past couple of days from people wanting a ban on animal testing.