A change of heart by Parliament on testing recreational drugs on animals has been hailed as a "great day for beagle puppies".
A month after rejecting a law change to rule out experiments on animals in the testing of legal highs, MPs yesterday agreed this policy should be reconsidered as part of the Government's animal welfare reforms.
Asked why the Government had softened its stance, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said it was a debate worth having. He said an outright ban on testing party pills and synthetic cannabis on dogs and rats would be one option considered as part of the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill.
Act Party leader and animal rights advocate John Banks praised the decision to allow public submissions to be heard on the animal testing ban, which was tabled by Labour MP Trevor Mallard.
"It is the beginning of the end for this country sanctioning the torture of harmless, hapless little animals in the name of recreational drugs. I am very happy about this day."
He added: "I say to these to the little beagle puppies the Little River Band song: 'Hang on, help is on its way'."
Parliament voted down an amendment to the Psychoactive Substances Bill which would have ruled out the use of dogs and rats as part of a new legal highs testing regime. The bill allowed animal testing, but only if there were no alternatives. The bill passed its first reading with unanimous support, but some MPs wanted it to be amended to phase out "factory farming".