As a farmer, I have always held animal welfare in the highest regard and the same standard applies to using some animals for testing.

The issue of using animals to test psychoactive substances was not actually part of the Act before the House.  The Act does not prescribe any design or testing stage, and the ethics of any testing regime is not relevant to the purpose of the Act.

Nonetheless, the Associate Minister of Health has made it clear that no licences to test psychoactive substances are to be issued before the Expert Advisory Committee has completed its consideration of what constitutes a low risk of harm and the appropriateness of all aspects of a testing regime.

New Zealand has a policy of replacing, refining and reducing any testing involving animals and National has made it clear that we will set an example in this area.

The Government inserted Clause 12 of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 ruling out any animal testing where an alternative exists.

There is a lot of work to do before any testing regime is finalised and the Government looks forward to working with interested parties, including the concerned public, to finalise these matters.