The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) won the 2014 Lush Prize for Lobbying. We spoke to Executive Director Stephen Manson about their work.
Please could you give us a brief introduction to your work.
NZAVS works against vivisection through public awareness and education, and lobbying and working with government to remove legislative requirements and acceptance of the data from animal testing.
Why were you nominated for the prize?
NZAVS was nominated for the Lush Prize due to the central role we played in getting the New Zealand government to change from proposing an animal testing based regime for ‘legal highs’ to including a ban on animal testing in the legislation regulating recreational drugs. The campaign started in 2012 when we uncovered the full extent of the animal testing that was being proposed (a range of animal tests using small and large animals, and including the LD50 test) and continued for 18 months until a ban on animal testing was passed into law in May 2014.
Why did you win the Lobbying Prize?
…Maybe the judging panel can answer this one better, but presumably it’s due to the fact the campaign was successful in getting the government to eventually place an animal test ban into law instead of their original plan for animal testing after they resisted doing so for so long and trying various compromise policies we refused to accept.
Could you outline how your work overlaps with current governmental policies?
The work we did, that the prize is for, changed government policy to ban animal testing which led them to amend the Psychoactive Substances Act to ban all animal testing. We are also currently talking to the government about other regulatory requirements for animal testing. This includes current legislation like the Hazardous Substances Act which covers all manner of substances in NZ, including cosmetics which is a particular focus right now; as well as proposed legislation like the Natural Health and Supplementary Products Bill which is going to require some sort of regulatory safety testing to be done.
What did winning the prize mean for you?
Being awarded the prize means a lot to us. Having our work recognised and celebrated like this on the other side of the world by a company like Lush is hugely exciting and has given all our members and volunteers that work so hard a great boost in morale! The financial aspect of the prize is also a massive boost and will enable us to advance some projects we have in the making as well as help us build a solid foundation upon which to expand over the coming years.