2 Dec 2012

Minister rules out some animal testing for party pills

8:07 pm on 2 December 2012

The Associate Health Minister says he's ruled out some forms of animal testing for party pills, but other forms are still possible.

Peter Dunne is looking to introduce new legislation which changes how New Zealand regulates party pills and other legal recreational drugs.

Mr Dunne says he has been under fire for what he says was a misunderstanding about the possibility of testing animals to ensure the party pills are safe.

"What we need to do therefore is develop a testing regime that will give us the right answers to the questions about how safe these products are - that was what all this was about, but to leap ahead and suddenly decide that we are going to start killing and slaughtering dogs, or sorts of other pets, just for the sake of testing is a long leap of judgement that's simply not justified".

He says he has ruled out the controversial test, LD50, in which doses of a tested drug are given to a sample group of animals until half the test group dies.

Green Party MP Mojo Mathers says the move is good one, but she is urging Mr Dunne to rule out any testing regimes that use animals.

Mr Dunne says officials are considering options for testing, and other forms of animal testing are still possible.

Such testing is currently used for pharmaceutical drugs, but SPCA chief executive Bob Kerridge says party pills are hardly a medicine.

"I think we have to look at whether there is any benefit in these things because testing on animals has to be beneficial in some way to humans, and certainly party pills are not beneficial to humans in any shape or form."