An­i­mal test­ing: Right or wrong?

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

With all the me­dia at­ten­tion and com­men­tary within our com­mu­ni­ties about syn­thetic cannabis, there has been as­so­ci­ated dis­cus­sion about the test­ing of these prod­ucts on an­i­mals.

Within our prac­tice, cof­fee break dis­cus­sions of­ten re­volve around the con­cerns about an­i­mal test­ing, puppy farms, bat­tery chick­ens and an­i­mal wel­fare.

Most of the pop­u­la­tion are happy not to think about the fact that the prod­ucts they use ev­ery day have been tested on an­i­mals for safety or ef­fi­cacy rea­sons.

The test­ing is usu­ally re­quired be­cause of govern­ment leg­is­la­tion cre­ated to pro­tect people from po­ten­tial harm.

Thou­sands of an­i­mals in New Zealand and an es­ti­mated 115 mil­lion world­wide are used ev­ery year for all sorts of test­ing – for drugs, cos­met­ics, house­hold clean­ers, food ad­di­tives and agri­chem­i­cals.

The an­i­mals in­clude mice, rats, rab­bits, guinea pigs, ham­sters, farm an­i­mals, birds, fish, cats, dogs and mon­keys.

In New Zealand, the use of an­i­mals in re­search, test­ing and teach­ing is strictly con­trolled un­der the An­i­mal Wel­fare Act 1999, and or­gan­i­sa­tions us­ing an­i­mals must fol­low an ap­proved code of eth­i­cal con­duct.

Ev­ery project must be ap­proved and mon­i­tored by an ethics com­mit­tee.

These are reg­u­lated by the Na­tional An­i­mal Ethics Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee, a di­vi­sion of the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries.

It would be won­der­ful if no an­i­mal needed to be used to test a prod­uct.

How­ever, if that was the case, hu­mans would have to carry all the risk.

Peta, an or­gan­i­sa­tion for the eth­i­cal treat­ment of an­i­mals, be­lieves no an­i­mal should be used for food, cloth­ing, ex­per­i­men­ta­tion or en­ter­tain­ment.

Though I be­lieve in many of Peta’s prin­ci­ples, I still eat meat, wear leather and use prod­ucts, such as medicines, that have been tested on an­i­mals.

I be­lieve that if test­ing on an­i­mals is done it must be car­ried out eth­i­cally and that the an­i­mals be treated hu­manely dur­ing and at the end of their lives.

I also be­lieve that if an­i­mals are be­ing used in the test­ing of a prod- uct, it should be of true ben­e­fit to the people and the com­mu­nity.

Of course, when the prod­uct is a syn­thetic drug used for plea­sure, or even cos­met­ics, the wa­ters get a bit muddy.

Why should an an­i­mal be sub­jected to po­ten­tial harm for a prod­uct that has du­bi­ous ben­e­fits?

Some would sug­gest the people who want to use the prod­ucts should be the guinea pigs.

This might be fine for con­sent­ing adults, but do we re­ally want chil­dren tak­ing those risks, be­cause they will with lit­tle thought of the con­se­quences.

Peta’s web­site last month con­grat­u­lated the New Zealand Govern­ment for de­cid­ing to ban all an­i­mal test­ing for recre­ational drugs along with the ban of syn­thetic cannabis.

I’m happy that the Govern­ment has banned syn­thetic cannabis and that an­i­mals won’t be used to test these prod­ucts.

How­ever, the dis­cus­sion on an­i­mal test­ing will con­tinue.

Photo: SUP­PLIED/KAPI-MANA NEWS

An­i­mal rights: Pro­tes­tors against an­i­mal test­ing for syn­thetic drugs.

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