What kinds animals are used in experiments?
Many different species of animals are used for animal testing around the world. The most common animals used in experiments are non-human primates (chimpanzees in some countries, mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, cats, dogs, mini-pigs, farm animals and fish.
Where do the animals come from?
Facilities that use animals in research often breed their own “stock” such as rodents, rabbits, birds etc. Other animals, such as pigs and sheep, may be obtained from farmers and baboons, monkeys and other wild, or so-called “problem” animals, are caught in the wild, often with the blessing of nature conservation authorities.
Animals trapped in the wild are usually transported to a facility where they are tested for viruses, infections and other health problems and where they are expected to get used to being in close proximity to humans. They are then re-located to the laboratory environment and may be held indefinitely, depending on the research involved. In the case of primates, a large number are caught and traded from Mauritius. (Thailand, India, and Bangladesh have banned the export of monkeys destined for research purposes. Israel has banned the export of wild animals for experiments.)
Animals kept in such captive situations often display behavioural problems like pacing, self-mutilation, swaying, masturbation, bar biting and head banging. All of these symptoms have been observed in animals held in South African laboratories.