Hundreds protest against animal testing

04:55, Jul 30 2013
Protesting poodle
PROTEST: Four-footed friends aplenty joined in the Christchurch protest.

More than 1000 people gathered in Cathedral Square to protest against the testing of legal highs on animals.

Many protesters had dogs at their side.

The demonstration was one of several around the country, from Kerikeri to Invercargill, held this afternoon to coincide with Parliament sitting.

Katya Meredyth-Young with Lilly
NO TESTING: Katya Meredyth-Young with Lilly

Protesters, armed with placards bearing messages such ''Torture for profit'' and ''My life is in your hands'', chanted ''We shouldn't die for you to get high''.

The Psychoactive Substances Bill, which will come into force on Thursday, allows limited testing of party pills and synthetic cannabis on animals if no other suitable alternatives can be found.

Organisers presented a submission to National MP Nicky Wagner's Christchurch office.

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Carolyn Palmer with Sassy and Kojo
TESTING CRUELTY: Carolyn Palmer with Sassy and Kojo says she cannot believe it is still happening.

Wagner was in Parliament.

New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society national officer manager Stephen Mason said he was ''overwhelmed'' by the turnout.

Some businesses had closed for the afternoon to allow their staff to attend, he said.

Mason hoped public pressure would make politicians take notice and ban testing party pills on animals.

Among those at the march was Hilary Calvert and her two St Bernards, Leo and Penny.

Calvert said she had never protested in her life, but as an animal lover she felt she could not stand by.

''It's uncomprehendable to me. It's not right [animal testing],'' she said.

''It's very important for us to be here. They [animals] need a voice.''

Carolyn Palmer took the day off work to attend and brought her bearded collie, Sassy, and her daughter's rottweiler, Kojo, along.

She said party pills should be banned.

''Testing on dogs is extremely cruel. In this day and age, I can't believe it's still happening,'' she said.

The Press