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Kevin Tamati on animal testing – NZ Herald

Posted in Reflections On Science on December 6th, 2012.

Writing in the New Zealand Herald, former league star and  Community Action Youth & Drugs spokesperson Kevin Tamati offers a considered view of animal testing.

An excerpt (read in full here):

Kevin Tamati: Animal testing of drugs justified to save lives

I don’t really understand why people take drugs, but I accept that it’s a social reality. I don’t drink or smoke and I’ve never taken recreational drugs. When I played competitive sport I was a non-drinker in a drinkers’ code. I saw alcohol destroy many careers and families.

In recent years my work with Community Action Youth & Drugs has meant I’ve encountered new stuff like methamphetamine (P) and “volatile substances” and other things that I’ve never heard of or considered to be an intoxicant. I’ve seen the grim consequences of use. I’ve also seen that if we take a health-centred approach prevention is increased and recovery assisted.

In general I support what Peter Dunne is doing in applying scientific testing and regulations to the recreational substances sector.

It’s become pretty clear that simple prohibition doesn’t work. Drug policy has to start from a base of logic. Peter Dunne has reasoned that it’s the health consequences that provide a rationale.

I appreciate what Bob Kerridge from the SPCA and others have to say about animal testing. I love dogs myself. But we are talking about people, human beings, and we have to see recreational drug use – including alcohol – as a health issue.

Therefore we must look at these substances logically and scientifically. To do that, we might have to consider, however unfortunate, that animal testing may be required.

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