Protesters speak for animals

By Kiri Gillespie

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More than 350 people will march in Tauranga today to protest Government plans to test party pills on animals.

The Tauranga event will tie in with similar marches held in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Hamilton, Queenstown, Taupo, Dunedin, Levin, Invercargill and Kerikeri.

"This is the biggest thing that's ever, ever happened in New Zealand with regard to animal welfare," Tauranga animal advocate Elly Maynard said.

The Sirius Global Animal Organisation president and founder said people were upset that mind-altering drugs could be tested on animals in New Zealand.

The newly passed Psychoactive Substances Law required manufacturers of synthetic drugs and party pills to prove their products were safe before sale.

An amendment to the bill to rule out the use of animal testing data to prove drug safety was voted down in Parliament earlier this month, sparking outrage among animal lovers.

Ms Maynard said party pill testing on animals was the cruellest "worst possible" testing that could be done on an animal.

"They defecate, they cower, they throw up and yet the pills are thrown down their throats, then they are cut up and examined," she said.

"We have to make a stand on this now."

Ms Maynard helped Tauranga protest organiser Rachel Gainfort in setting up the pet-friendly march at 12pm.

"It's not like people are protesting about drug manufacturers of legitimate medicines to cure illness.

"These are a select few manufacturers supplying a select few drug users for a legal high," Ms Maynard said.

Ms Gainfort said support for the march had ballooned over the past two weeks.

"It's gone from 10 people to 300 people. It makes me feel the animals are going to be spoken for," she said.

"I want people to turn up for the animals, and for their children and their grandchildren who might take these drugs in years to come."

Ms Gainfort said she had seen "horrific" clips where mind altering drugs were tested on animals.

"You can't do this kind of cruelty for a drug that people choose to take."

The Green Party amendment ruling against animal testing was voted against by National, United Future and independent MP Brendan Horan.

However, Act leader John Banks supported the amendment, telling Parliament: "We are sacrificing animals at the altar of recreational drug use."

Animal welfare organisations Huha, Safe, Paw Justice and NZAVS were behind the march.


Animal testing protest



  • What: Stop party pill testing on animals march.


  • Who: Animals advocacy and welfare groups and anyone else who believes synthetic drugs and party pills should not be tested on animals.


  • Where: All over New Zealand, with Tauranga's march beginning at the water fountain, opposite Starbucks on The Strand.


  • Why: To enable public voice for an amendment to the Psychoactive Substances Law ruling against animal testing.


  • When: 12pm.


- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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