A new regime for non-medical drugs may require some testing on animals, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne says.
The Government wants to change the law so that manufacturers of legal recreational drugs have to prove they are safe. Currently regulators have to prove they are unsafe.
The change has sparked an uproar over methods of testing the drugs.
Mr Dunne said he has ruled out a controversial LD50 animal test whereby doses are given to a sample group of animals until half of the test group dies.
"It is a horrible test," Mr Dunne said today.
"No one wants it. We are aware that other jurisdictions have moved away from it, and I expect New Zealand officials to look at what alternatives are possible as we construct this regime."
However, the pending psychoactive substances testing regime may require some animal testing to make sure the substances are safe.
"Human safety is the paramount consideration but, in achieving that, we follow the 3-R protocol which mean reducing animal testing, refining it whenever we have to use it, and replacing it whenever we can."
Mr Dunne said criticism of the testing on animals by the Green Party was ironic in the extreme.
"They need to take a long look at their own unrelenting pro-drug history," he said.