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A leading New Zealand microbiologist says there is no reason why party pills have to be tested on animals.

I was quite surprised to find out that the “leading” microbiologist they are referring to is me! I say surprised because that wasn’t what I actually said.

The article, originally for the Sunday Star Times, was a follow up to my earlier blog post on how animal research is regulated here. I talked to the journalist about the ethical framework that underpins animal use in many countries, mainly the principles of replacement, refinement and reduction, explaining what humane endpoints were*. And I talked a little about the kinds of experiments that are usually done before compounds are put into animals. Like the Ames test which uses bacteria to see if a compound can mutate DNA and may therefore be carcinogenic.

The quote they ended up using was:

There are lots of things you can do to see if a compound is dangerous before you get it into an animal

See why I’m surprised?! Anyway, as toxicologist Rosalind Dalefield so kindly informs me, I “fell for their determination to get a uninformed opinion and misrepresent it as an informed one”. That’s me told, so any journalists please note, Rosalind is the lady to talk to**.

*Animals aren’t left to die but are humanely killed when defined criteria are reached.

**Rosalind has not one but TWO Board certifications in toxicology and offers “the benefit of my expertise” in nonclinical drug development, environmental toxicology, general toxicology and veterinary toxicology.