SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

About Animal Testing

Every year around the world, 115 million animals are subjected to animal testing. These experiments (known as vivisection) are carried out for a range of reasons, often to test medicines and chemicals or to study how the bodies of humans or animals work.

Some people believe that the pain and distress caused to animals who are subjected to these experiments is justified because their potential suffering is outweighed by the potential benefits of their research. However, there are many who point to the repetition or trivial ends of many tests and would like to see the number of animals being used in experiments significantly reduced or entirely restricted.

New Zealand has banned testing on animals for cosmetics and household products, which is great news as there are already thousands of safe ingredients that can be used to make these items. However, it is worth remembering that this legal restriction on these tests taking place concerns products that are made in New Zealand and does not ban the import of cosmetic and household products that have been tested in other countries.

However, around 300,000 animals are still used or experimented on for research, testing and teaching in this country every year. These animals are often confined to laboratories where it is hard to meet their basic physical, health and behavioural needs. The testing to which they are subjected is often painful, and the animals will sometimes die as a result or are usually killed as part of the research.

The SPCA is fundamentally opposed to animal experiments taking place which involve unnecessary repetitions, scientifically trivial ends, or techniques for which satisfactory, humane alternatives exist that do not use live animals. We believe that live animals should never be used in experiments if there is a suitable humane alternative that can achieve the same or more appropriate aims.

The SPCA believes that the government, international regulatory bodies, research funders and industry should put more funding and resources into projects and developments that do not involve the use of animals. Humane, non-animal, alternative tests should always be selected over those which use animals. Where animals are used, there must be far greater openness and transparency in the way that animals are obtained, held, used or experimented on within research, testing and teaching facilities.

One day, we hope that there will be political, institutional and industry support for permanently ending the need and desire for animal testing.

In the meantime, there are ways you can help:

  • Always buy cruelty-free products.
  • Support companies and institutions who do not test or research on live animals.
  • Write polite letters to encourage companies and institutions who do test or research on live animals to use alternative humane means.
  • Educate others about the need to reduce and end animal testing and what they can do to help.
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