15 Jun 2013

Bill changes nothing on animal testing, says group

3:15 pm on 15 June 2013

An animal welfare group says a change to proposed legislation on legal highs does not go far enough towards preventing the testing of recreational drugs on animals.

Parliament's Health Select Committee on Friday reported back on the Psychoactive Substances Bill, which requires manufacturers to prove their products are safe before they can be sold.

Associate Health Minister Todd McClay has inserted a clause in the bill saying any psychoactive product test must not rely on research, testing or teaching involving an animal if a suitable alternative exists.

The director of Save Animals From Exploitation, Hans Kriek, says that is not changing anything, because the Animal Welfare Act already says animals can only be used if there is no alternative.

"The bill should have said data derived from animal testing cannot be used in the approval process of these drugs."

Mr Kriek says the Government is afraid to rule out animal testing for recreational drugs because that might put it under greater pressure to stop animal experimentation in other industries.

The Stars Trust, which represents the legal high industry, doesn't think animals will need to be used.

Spokesperson Grant Hall says low risk can be proven without the need for animal testing.