Greens call for an end to animal testing

ANIMAL ADVOCATE: Green MP Mojo Mathers.

ANIMAL ADVOCATE: Green MP Mojo Mathers.

The Green Party is urging Parliament not to be the first in the world to vote on the practice of testing cosmetics on animals and choose to continue it.

Green MP Mojo Mathers has introduced proposed amendments to the Government's Animal Welfare Amendment Bill,which is likely to come before the house this week. 

It would see the testing of cosmetics on animals completely banned, although animal testing does not occur in New Zealand anyway.

But the amendments would not extend to imported products that have been tested on animals overseas. 

This morning, Mathers enlisted the help of rabbit Crumpet and #BeCrueltyFree campaigner Tara Jackson to push thelargely symbolic message. 

"This could be a momentous week for animals and the people who love them, but it can only happen with National's support," said Mathers.

"If they vote against my proposed changes to the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, we will be the first country in the world to have had the opportunity to ban this cruel and inhumane practice and chosen not to.

"This is our chance to bring New Zealand into line with countries such as Norway, India, Israel and all 28 EU member states, all of whom have banned cosmetics testing on animals. There is a worldwide movement for change on this issue and we should be part of it."

The Government has already legislated that animal testing cannot be carried out for synthetic highs and other recreational drugs. 

But the Government-introduced Psychoactive Substances Amendment Bill stopped short of banning animal testing for cosmetics. 

It last year banned 41 products given interim approval under legislation passed 2013, largely by ensuring the testing regime for future potential legal highs could not use animal testing.

At the time, Prime Minister John Key said: "If a product needs to be tested on an animal and that's the only way for the health department to confirm it's low-risk, then you can't manufacture it in New Zealand," he said.

"It's one thing to test on an animal if you're developing a life-saving drug for cancer, it's quite a different issue for a recreational drug."

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the Government had received three proposed amendments from the Green Party last week.

It would have a "good look" at them before making a decision.

"It's worth noting there is no animal testing of cosmetic products in New Zealand and, to the best of our knowledge, there never has been," Guy said.

"We have a strong regime in New Zealand and any animal testing done (e.g. for medicines) has to be approved by an independent ethics committee. Any project has to show the benefits will outweigh any harm caused.

"It's also worth noting consumers already have the choice of buying products clearly marked as not tested on animals."

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 - Stuff

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