Confirmed victory

THE ROYAL NZ SPCA HAS FAILED US TREMENDOUSLY WITH THEIR POSITION RELATING TO ANIMAL TESTING AND THE PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCE BILL.

Letter to
National Office Royal NZ SPCA
CALL FOR THE RESIGNATION OF THE NATIONAL BOARD MEMBERS OF THE ROYAL NEW ZEALAND SPCA IN RELATION TO YOUR POSITION ON ANIMAL TESTING FOR PSYCHOACTIVE DRUGS

We, the undersigned, have lost confidence in the Royal New Zealand SPCA and are calling for the resignation of all National Board members in light of the recent announcement from Bob Kerridge in relation to Psychoactive Substance Bill. Mr Kerridge made the following statement (NZ Herald Friday 14th June 2013) which is in stark contrast to the petition conducted by the RNZSPCA, NZ Anti Vivisection Society (NZAVS) and Save Animals From Exploitation (SAFE) and signed by more than sixty thousand New Zealanders.

Mr Kerridge, a member on the expert panel, said: "The eventual conclusion is that it might be necessary to have some animal testing, but we would hope to limit that as much as possible."
He said it was difficult to admit that some animals would be used in drug trials, and he felt some reluctance on the panel to allow experiments on rats or dogs for the purpose of approving recreational drugs.
But he added: "One has to go with the full consensus of experts who know what they are doing and are there to do a job."
Mr Kerridge has since tried to reinforce the RNZSPCA position against animal testing which is misleading and contradictory in light of the documented evidence shown in the Bill.

We believe the National President, and other members of the National Board have betrayed the people of New Zealand on this matter for the following reasons:
• The petition that the RNZSPCA put their name to, and as a consequence received support from, called for a BAN on ALL animal testing for psychoactive substances. To renounce this position in the form of the statement above is a betrayal of all those who supported this petition.
• You are the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - by accepting that animals would be tested on is detrimental to the Society’s name and everything it should stand for. Your members, and members of the public have given donations of time and money in support of what they believed was the welfare of animals in New Zealand, only to find they have been misled.
• During the submissions to the Green Party by those calling for a ban of animal testing, evidence was presented to support the position that reliable alternative testing is available, in fact alternatives to animal testing is more effective and safer (www.greens.org.nz/misc-documents/psychoactive-substances-bill-green-party-hearings-submissions-related-animal-testing). All parties were also made aware that testing of these substances on animals is banned in the UK and parts of the EU. For Mr Kerridge to make a statement that “one has to go with the full consensus of experts who know what they are doing and are there to do a job” is a complete sell out on behalf of the RNZSPCA and it begs the question of why you would support that consensus.
• Your representative, Mr James Boyd, who attended the handover of the petition and presentation of submissions, was obviously not well informed, or properly briefed on the issue. During the verbal hearing at the Green Party offices, Mr Boyd was completely off subject and struggled to convey any meaningful support of the petition. His presence and statements were totally unacceptable and contrary to the basis of the petition and in fact made a mockery of it.
• The Health Select Committee (HSC) report shows the Interim Psychoactive Substances Expert Advisory Committee (IPSEAC) stating that it does not believe substances can be established to be low risk without animal testing, and that this decision was agreed by consensus and all members of the committee endorsed the report, of which Mr Kerridge was a member (* reference pages 8 and 12 of the Psychoactive Substance Bill commentary www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2013/0100/latest/DLM5278400.html). This effectively introduces a requirement that there be animal testing data for licence applications, and this new requirement has been introduced entirely without any views from the general public, animal welfare organisations or experts (except those who happen to be on the interim committee). We would have expected Mr Kerridge to remain a minority vote on this outcome and remain the staunch representative for aninmal welfare that he has claimed to be.
• Mr Kerridge was invited onto IPSEAC in late February 2013 but it wasn’t until the 19th May that he disclosed this “confidentially” to NZAVS and SAFE. That was two days after the press release disclosing the members of the IPSEAC. We believe Mr Kerridge’s decision not to inform SAFE AND NZAVS at the time of his appointment shows a lack of ethical conduct.

As stated, we have lost confidence in the RNZSPCA and find your changing position on this matter as totally unacceptable for such an organisation. As the governing Board you have a duty to not only your members and supporters, but ALL of New Zealand and ALL of the animals – you have failed momentously on this issue and we feel there is no alternative but to tender your resignation.

The RNZSPCA is an important organisation for the people and animals of New Zealand. Our hope is that a new Board will bring a fresh approach with courage of conviction.