The main purposes of the NSPCA Animal Ethics Unit is to be the custodians of animals used for scientific purposes and teaching activities. Not only is research on animals legal in South Africa, but it is also required by law in certain instances.

For instance, Medicines and Related Substances Act No. 101 of 1965 and the Fertilizers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act No. 36 of 1947 (Act 36 of 1947) require testing of products to be conducted on animals before the product can be shelved.

We do not have the power to stop the use of animals for scientific purposes, but we can prevent cruelty and we strive to improve the quality of life of these animals.

NSPCA Inspector with examining a Cow

Cosmetic Testing in South Africa

We are opposed to the use of animals in the testing of non-essential substances such as cosmetics, non-medical products, and food additives.

There is no legal requirement that cosmetics be tested on animals in South Africa. Although we are not aware of any companies in South Africa that test cosmetic products on animals, some companies and/or franchises are selling products tested on animals in other countries.

How do we go about ensuring that animals are treated ethically and humanely?

  • We serve on Animal Research Ethics Committees to ensure the highest standards of animal welfare.
  • We conduct routine inspections at all facilities holding and keeping animals used for scientific purposes and teaching activities.
  • We apply the 4 Rs, namely replacement, reduction, refinement, and responsibility when reviewing applications for research on animals.
  • We work on improving legislation and national standards regulating research on animals.

We are supporting the efforts to amend the Animal Protection Act 71 of 1962 to make the testing of cosmetic products on animals a criminal offence.

The welfare of animals is our primary concern and the financial support we receive from the public enables us to improve the quality of life of many animals.

NSPCA Inspector with petting a Dog
You can empower us to safeguard the welfare of animals used in research
by supporting the Animals in Science Fund.

If you have a specific question concerning animals used in research, please contact us.