Nationwide rally condemns animal testing for party-drugs (part rua)
Image courtesy of HUHANZ
NZ, Wellington, 30 July – Thousands of animal rights campaigners, animal lovers, and other people who oppose testing party drugs and synthetic cannabis on animals protested against the Psychoactive Substances Bill on Tuesday 30 July.
TV3′s news crew filming the protesters;
“I don’t want to die for someone to get high” – a good point. And one that National ministers and Peter Dunne seem unwilling to address;
Ok, this is right off the Cuteness Scale factor;
(But animal testing on these party pills is still wrong, regardless of cuteness or not.)
The legalise-cannabis lobby were represented by this gentleman;
It has been said that real cannabis is actually safer (in adults) than the synthetic stuff. Plus it’s been “consumer-tested” for hundreds (thousands) of years. So wouldn’t it make more sense to de-criminalise the natural stuff and ban the synthetic variety?
Or is that too much common sense for politicians to handle?
About half an hour later, the procession moved off,
The procession, at the northern end of Wellington’s Cuba Mall – on the right;
… and on the left, waiting to set off across Dixon Street;
And the marchers – four-legged as well as two – were off;
After a brisk march through Wellington’s CBD, the rally ended up in Parliament’s grounds beneath the stature of Richard Seddon;
Rally Organiser and HUHA founder, Carolyn Press-McKenzie, addressed the rally, surrounded by MPs and media crews;
Epsom MP, John Banks, was the first MP to address the rally;
In a somewhat fervant speech, Banks said,
“I say no to farming animals in China and India for the purposes of drug testing. I say no to putting animals at the alter of drug dealers and importing for the purpose of recreational drugs…”
…I say to my Parliament colleagues testing fun drugs on animals is obscene.It is obscene in a country that prides itself on animal welfare and animal ethics. Britain banned testing; Britain banned testing of fun drugs on animals in 1997. The EU has banned the testing of cosmetrics of on that beautiful rabbit down there some years ago.
… If we want to be leaders; if we want to be leaders in the safety of fun drugs in this country, if it’s necessary to have these mind-changing chemicals, then test them on the idiots that want to take them, because there’s hundreds that want to do it. There are hundreds and hundreds of idiots up and and down the country that will willingly take fun drugs to test their toxicity.
…And I say to my Parliamentary colleagues, don’t test them on animals at all!”
He looked pleased at the crowd’s response, obviously enjoying the cheers to his speech. (He probably hasn’t received such cheers and applause since he sat down to a nice cuppa tea with the Prime Minister, in November 2011.)
Green MP, Mojo Mathers, was next to address the rally;
“I am angry! I am angry that animals are going to have to suffer. I am angry that animals are going to have to die, for the sake of a legal high. I am angry because the government has not been listening! The government is ignoring public opinion! It ignoring your conscience. Because the the general public has a conscience! The general public cares. The general public does not want to see animals suffering in this way!
The government has ignored the hundreds of people who have put in a huge amount of time and energy to provide detailed information [and] submissions on the Bill, on the issue of animal testing. And what happened? The Select Committee said “no we won’t hear you”! That was wrong! The information these people have in their submissions is directly relevant to the issues of the Bill. Because what that information showed was that there are alternatives to animal testing. And that we care about our young people. We can’t use these alternatives [background noise] for safety.
The Government ignored the 64,000 people who signed the petition in one month.And this government voted against my amendment that would have ruled out these awful tests. That is apalling and I am angry about that. I am angry that the government covered it’s ears and hands over it’s eyes and refused to look at the evidence of alternative tests and refused to rule out animal. testing of party pills.”
“And we have to keep up the pressure!”
And I intend to keep up the pressure in Parliament. The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill is another opportunity to keep up the pressure and I will be asking for Party Pill testing on animals to be ruled out of this Bill.”
“What you have done here by coming out en masse today is that you’ve shown this government that you are not going to forget this issue.”
Mojo’s speech received an enthisiatic response from protesters and organisers alike;
Labour MP, Iain Lees-Galloway, also took an opportunity to speak to the rally;
“I sat on the Health Committee when we considered to the Psychoactive Substances Bill. And I want to tell you about how the National Party completely refused to listen to any of the discussion around animal welfare.
When we received all the submissions; we received all those hundreds of submissions saying that people wanted to come to the Select Commitee and talk about animal welfare and wanted to make your voices heard and make the animal’s voices heard, in front of us, the people who are making the decisions about the Bill…
…The Select Committee had to eventually to have a vote about whether or not we would hear those submissions. And the vote actually went five/five. There’s five National Party members on the Select Committee. They voted against hearing your submissions.
The other five members are from Labour, The Greens, and New Zealand First and we voted in favour of hearing your submissions.”
Ian Lees Galloway said that the motion to hear submissions was lost, in favour of the status quo. He said,
“That was a decision by the National Party and I think it’s a real shame [cheering drowned out speaker] that the National Party is not interested in giving you your democratic right to be heard by Parliament. We have a wonderful transparent system in New Zealand where everybody has the right to be heard about whatever piece of legislation we are putting through Parliament. And you had your democratic right taken away from you by the National Party.
So I want you to know that the Labour Party voted in favour of Mojo’s amendement. We did not want to see animal testing… for party pills. And I agree with Mojo’s recommendation to you, which is that we have the Animal Welfare Bill coming up next. That is the opportunity to have your voice heard again. Make sure the National Party understands that you want to be heard about this and that you want to get in front of the Select Committee that is considering the Animal Welfare Bill, because you have a democratic right to be heard and Labour will support you all the way on that.”
Inexplicably, as Carolyn Press-McKenzie pointed out, no National Ministers, nor Peter Dunne, appeared to present their case to the rally. Perhaps their courage deserted them on this day.
Never mind, I’m sure that there will be many in Mr Dunne’s elecorate who, next year at election time, will be only too happy to attend public meetings and ask Mr Dunne a few pertinent questions.
Politicians can run and hide – but eventually they have to surface, to seek our votes again.
We can wait, Mr Dunne, Mr Key, et al.
Near the conclusion of the rally, Ms Press-McKenzie handed new evidence for alternative testing to John Banks, and asked him to present it to the Prime Minister.
Banks accepted the documents and acknowledged that the submission would be passed on to John Key.
Grumpy cat is not happy. Politicians would do well not to annoy Grumpy cat;
One hopes that National listens to public concerns on this issue. Because it seems that their Focus Group polling is not delivering the message that, generally, the public are disgusted with the notion of testing synthetic highs on animals, so that a small minority can enjoy a moment of chemically-induced pleasure.
There is more than a hint of disquiet on this issue – for many it is quite obscene.
So never mind the morality of this issue – evidently morality doesn’t factor with National MPs.
Let’s talk votes then. How many votes can possibly be in this issue for the Nats?
Bugger all, I suspect.
It could be said that National “gone soft on drugs and animal welfare”. How will that play out with animal lovers at the next election, I wonder?
Not very well, I think.
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 1 August 2013.
Helping You Help Animals (facebook)
Helping You Help Animals (Website)
Parliament: Psychoactive Substances Bill
Parliament: Psychoactive Substances Bill – Related Documents
Green Party: Psychoactive Substances Bill could have been great
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