Local news

World Day for Animals in Laboratories: Why animal testing should be banned

Animal-testing activists have come a long way in advocating for countries to ban animal-testing, and in doing so, many local and international brands have hopped on the bandwagon, finding alternative ways to test products.

ANIMAL Testing has been a topic of serious debate and concern among animal activists and animal lovers who are passionate about putting an end to the suffering of innocent animals.

World Day for Animals in Laboratories is observed every year on April 24. The surrounding week has come to be known as ‘World Week for Animals in Laboratories’. Instituted in 1979, World Day for Laboratory Animals, and the associated Lab Animal Week, have been a catalyst for the movement to end the suffering of animals in laboratories around the world and their replacement with advanced scientific non-animal techniques. The suffering of millions of animals all over the world is commemorated on every continent.

The dangerous effects of testing on animals

Human diseases in laboratory animals are not naturally occurring so need to be artificially created; they are different from the human condition they are attempting to mimic. Photo: Nia Louw

Although advanced methods are steadily replacing animal research, outdated laws require animal tests before a product can be put on the market. Every year, millions of animals suffer and die in experiments that can never be trusted.

According to the official World Day for Laboratory Animals website, as a method of predicting likely effects in humans, animal research is flawed in three key areas:

– Each species responds differently to substances, therefore animal tests are an unreliable way to predict effects in humans.

– Human diseases in laboratory animals are not naturally occurring so need to be artificially created; they are different from the human condition they are attempting to mimic. This also affects results.

– Studies have shown that living in a laboratory environment can affect the outcome of an experiment, with test results differing due to the animal’s age, sex, diet and even their bedding material. So results vary from laboratory to laboratory.

Harmful clinical trials

Some examples of horrific and unexpected side effects in people due to differences in reaction between species include:

BIA 10-2474 Drug Trial

Clinical trials with a new drug, BIA 10-2474, went fatally wrong – when given to human volunteers – one died, four showed evidence of brain damage and it has since been reported that another lost his fingers and toes. The product had been tested on mice, rats, rabbits, dogs and monkeys for toxic effects on various organs as well as reproductive toxicity. Monkeys were given doses approximately 75x that given to the human volunteers.

Also read: World Book Day: Bibliophile encourages locals to delve between the pages


An experimental drug was given to human volunteers and caused life-threatening reactions, yet monkeys were given doses 500 times higher than the human volunteers and no side effects had been seen. This disaster may have been avoided with the implementation of advanced technologies such as ‘micro-dosing’ with spectrometry analysis.

The website also explained that species differences mean that animals used in research can give different results to humans. “Aspirin causes birth defects in monkeys but is widely used by pregnant women without the same effect.

“Parkinson’s disease only naturally exists in humans, so some of the main characteristics of the disease are not present in animals. Models are created by injecting toxins or creating genetically modified animals. But drugs found to be protective in the brains of animals, including primate models, are not effective in humans.”

A silver lining for innocent creatures

Animal testing is still legal in South Africa. Photo: Stock image

The fight to end animal cruelty and testing has been an ongoing struggle, and although it is still a major issue in the field of pharmaceuticals, it seems that beauty companies have caught on to the urgency of this crisis, and many of them have chosen to go the anti-cruelty route when testing products.

For decades, big-name makeup and skincare brands used animal testing to establish product safety. Many successful and established makeup brands still use animal testing to ensure the safety of a product or ingredient. However, in 1980, people and organisations started paying attention to how harmful and morally corrupt it is for brands to test products on animals. The ethical consequences of methods such as the Draize Irritancy Test were examined more closely.

Draize Irritancy Tests require directly exposing animals’ eyes and skin to chemicals. Considered for decades to be the gold standard for cosmetic safety assessments, these tests would cause extensive animal suffering.

Animal testing is still legal in South Africa. Places such as India, Russia and the European Union have banned animal testing completely. However, South Africa, along with Australia, Brazil and Japan, are a few countries that have not yet outright banned the practice of animal testing.

Also read: WATCH: Snakes of the 031 – the Boomslang

South African brands that are cruelty-free

A wonderful range of products is available that offers effective formulas and results. Here is a list of top-of-the-range cruelty-free products that are effective and won’t break the bank either.

Kryolan Beauty
La Girl Cosmetics
NYX Cosmetics
Essence Cosmetics
Catrice Cosmetics
Clicks Beauty
Dischem Beauty
Swiitch Beauty
Smudge Cosmetics

For more from the Highway Mail, follow us on Facebook X and Instagram. You can also check out our videos on our YouTube channel or follow us on TikTok.

Related Articles

Back to top button