Animal Ethics

Animals are frequently used for research and teaching purposes but at the NSPCA we aim to completely replace animals with humane alternatives where possible. Our alternatives include virtual dissections, dissection models and manikins.

Thanks to your generous donations to the Alternatives to Animals in Research Fund our Animal Ethics Unit has been able to promote humane alternatives to countless research facilities around the country.

Our NSPCA Animal Ethics Unit presents alternatives during National Science Week and at the Annual Diamond Route conference. We not only discuss the numerous alternatives available but also educate learners of all ages about the four R’s (reduction, replacement, refinement and Responsibility) and the ethical matters around animal-based research. Our own new dissection rat model (to replace the use of live animals for dissections) recently drew a lot of interest and discussion. We are in the final stages of the model’s development – watch this space!

Reduction, Replacement, Refinement and Responsibility

The four R’s is a principle followed by the NSPCA which encourages the reduction in the number of animals used for research or teaching, the replacement of animals where possible, refinement of techniques to reduce pain and stress to animals and responsibility in all aspects of care and use of animals should be taken. Some researchers and very few teachers have heard of the four R’s and so our aim to ensure that every teacher learns about our responsibility towards animals, so that they educate their own learners in the future.

Alternative Animal Research

Some universities have reduced the number of animals they use for dissections from one per student to four students per animal. A few primary and high schools have embraced the use of humane alternatives which have completely replaced the use of animals.

The welfare of animals is our primary concern in the Animal Ethics Unit and we are grateful for the financial support we have received, as it enables us to save numerous animal lives.

Get Involved!

If you would like to become directly involved in promoting Animal Ethics check out our Adopt-a-Project.

Our efforts have made a huge impact!


We prevent cruelty, promote kindness and alleviate the suffering of animals.

Reporting animal cruelty to your local SPCA directly will ensure that the animal is reached faster

Donate to the NSPCA

SMS the word CARE to 38018.

Each SMS costs R25 (Network & Admin Fees Apply).

Promote the welfare of all animals by taking one of our Pledges.

Contact the NSPCA

6 Clark Road, Florentia, Alberton Johannesburg, South Africa
Phone: 011 907 3590


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