"I'm not afraid to say that as a face of New Zealand, animal testing is not something I want to be associated with."

Miss Universe New Zealand Rachel Millns, of Waikanae, is the face for a national Be Cruelty-Free campaign, which rallied outside parliament today.

Having kicked off at midday, a collection of campaigners braved the damp Wellington weather to rally for changes to the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, which could see a complete ban on cosmetic testing on animals in New Zealand.

Miss Millns, a full-time beauty therapist, said she was hoping to leave her mark on an industry that should "reflect New Zealand's clean green image".

"I'm always questioning what's in skincare, and I don't use products that are tested on animals," the 24-year-old said.


"There are many non-ethical products on the market, and ethically tested products are actually really easy to come by if you ask the right question and do your research.

"I'm not afraid to say that as a face of New Zealand, animal testing is not something I want to be associated with."

Despite not being able to attend the rally, a speech was made on behalf of Miss Millns by international Kiwi model Anna-Lisa Christiane, 20, who is also fronting the campaign.

As part of a two-and-a-half year battle by animal welfare organisations to end cosmetics-related animal testing around the world, the Humane Society International, New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society, SAFE, HUHA and ActionStation combined forces to host the event.

Green Party MP Gareth Hughes took time to join the rally, along with fellow MP Mojo

Members of SAFE, NZAVS and HUHA.
Members of SAFE, NZAVS and HUHA.

Mathers who said the campaign was about taking a global stand.

HUHA founder Carolyn Press-McKenzie, of Otaki, was one of a collection of campaigners who joined the rally to hand over the 900,000 plus public signatures supporting an amendment.

Mrs Press-McKenzie said the changes, currently passing through parliament, would "ensure it never becomes a problem in New Zealand".

Head of campaigns at SAFE Mandy Carter said a ban would see any cosmetic companies unable to test in New Zealand, and unable to bring their new product to market if it had been tested on animals.

"The government has been saying there's no animal testing going on for cosmetics anyway, so our question is why not just ban it?"

Information delivered by SAFE listed a range of physical ramifications for animals who are tested on, with pain relief not provided on the basis it could interfere with test results.

To date, the international Be Cruelty-Free campaign has led to the prohibition of animal testing in countries including India and the European Union.

Otaki MP Nathan Guy said the National Party had received three proposed amendments, which they would "have a good look at 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," Mr Guy said.

"We have a strong regime in New Zealand and any animal testing done, such as for medicines, has to be approved by an independent ethics committee.

"Any project has to show the benefits will outweigh any harm caused."

Miss Universe NZ, Rachel Millns.
Miss Universe NZ, Rachel Millns.

As a well-followed face of the beauty industry, Miss Universe New Zealand Rachel Millns said her role as an influential figure for girls all across the country, and as an avid advocate for animal welfare, saw her naturally fall into becoming the face of the Be Cruelty-Free campaign.

A qualified full-time beauty therapist in Wellington, Miss Millns said she ensures she uses only natural, non-animal tested beauty and cosmetic products, including the Jane Iredale mineral makeup range.

"Skincare wise I use Environ, which is a South African Vitamin A based skincare line that's also not tested on animals," she said.

"On my hair I use Original Mineral hair care which again, is not tested on animals and is very organic with no extra added paraben, preservatives or fragrances."

Miss Millns said the only factor associated with all natural products is their shorter life span, in comparison with products containing processed ingredients.

"I compare beauty products to the food we eat, and see it as just as important as the food we eat.

"Our bodies function so much better when we are nourishing them with more raw, whole foods as opposed to processed foods - and the same applies to hair and skincare.

"It's great that many natural non-animal tested brands are proud of their work and showcase it on their packaging.

"I would love to see young girls, and people in general, a bit more aware of what they are using."