The Green Party will increase pressure on the Government to rule out testing of synthetic drugs on animals by holdings its own hearings today.
A petition signed by 37,000 people will be delivered to Parliament this afternoon calling for the exclusion of animal tests from a new regime which will resolve whether party pills and other synthetic drugs are safe for sale.
The Greens decided to hold their own hearings after Parliament's health committee ruled that animal testing was outside the scope of the Psychoactive Substances Bill and submissions which focused on this would not be heard.
The bill does not prescribe the testing regime to be used for legal highs, but tests on animals cannot be ruled out.
Green animal welfare spokeswoman Mojo Mathers said a world-class testing regime was needed but there was no public support for cruel or unnecessary animal testing.
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said the hearings were a "stunt" and the committee was right not to hear submissions which focused on animal testing.
He has ruled out using the most harmful animal tests, known as LD50, for determining how safe psychoactive products are. He said it was up to a newly established expert committee to decide whether, or to what extent, animal testing was used.
The interim advisory committee of five included the SPCA chief executive. Bob Kerridge said he would disapprove of any proposal to test legal highs on animals.
Mr Dunne said the committee would have to weigh up how strong any evidence was before approving the drugs, including where testing was done.