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United States

In the US it is the Animal Welfare Act which sets the minimum standards of care and treatment for animals used in research. This was first enacted in to public law in 1966 and was then known as the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act. An amendment in 1970 changed the name to the current one and broadened the scope of the regulation to include animals used in exhibition or the wholesale pet trade. It has been strengthened and broadened several times by further amendments since then. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) enforces the Animal Welfare Act through the Animal Care Programme of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

As with European law the Act lays down;

  • minimum standards of veterinary care and animal husbandry
  • requirements for licensing of research facilities but not for individuals
  • requirements for the provision of anaesthesia or pain relieving medication
  • requirements for facilities to provide dogs with the opportunity to exercise
  • requirements to promote the psychological well-being of primates
  • forbiddance of unnecessary duplication of a specific experiment
  • requirements for the establishment of an institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) to oversee the use of animals in experiments.

However, the US situation is much less restrictive and there are some important differences. The starkest of these is the exclusion of birds, rats (of the genus Rattus), mice (of the genus Mus), fish, and amphibians and reptiles from the definition of ‘animal’ and as such they are not protected by the Act. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) this means that approximately 95% of the animals used for research in the US aren’t afforded even the minimal protections of the Animal Welfare Act.11 A second difference is that the IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee) is the body responsible for ensuring compliance with AWA and for providing documentation of all areas of that compliance to APHIS, so compliance is measured internally.

On the question of cosmetics, the law does not require or ban animal tests on cosmetics or their ingredients, but a bill, the Humane Cosmetics Act HR 2858, is currently (November 2015) going through the US legislature, led by Representative Martha McSally of Arizona. The bill would require all animal-based cosmetics tests to be phased out within a year of its adoption. It would prevent: “the internal or external application or exposure of any cosmetic to the skin, eyes, or other body part of a live non-human vertebrate for purposes of evaluating the safety or efficacy of a cosmetic.”


Current legislation in Canada requires that all cosmetic products are “safe when used as intended”, but does not specify animal testing. However, the Food and Drugs Act, which covers the subject, does not prohibit animal tests. Now Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen of New Brunswick has proposed an amendment that would introduce a ban on tests being carried out in Canada, and on the sale of products that have been tested elsewhere. (November 2015)


Brazil has led developments in the Three Rs in Latin America although the first discussions on their implementation did not take place until 2003. Brazil was the host country for the 1st Latin American Congress on Alternative Methods for the Use of Animals in Education, Research and Industry (Congresso Latino Americano de Metodos Alternativos, COLAMA) in November 2012.

The Brazilian National Council to Control Animal Experimentation (CONCEA), set up in 2008, is the legal authority responsible for regulating the use of animals in teaching and scientific activities (Brazilian Law 11,794/2008). Among its activities is establishment of a procedure to introduce validated alternative methods (Normative Resolution RN17/14).

In 2012 Brazil set up the Brazilian Centre for Validation of Alternative Methods (BraCVAM) and The National Network of Alternative Methods (RENAMA). BraCVAM is a partnership between the National Institute of Health Quality Control (INCQS/Fiocruz) and the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA).Two years later BraCVAM recommended 17 validated alternative methods published by the OECD that were accepted by the CONCEA after hearing the Brazilian regulatory agencies. Those replacements must be in place by 2019.

In July 2015, the ANVISA Executive Board decided that all alternative methods recognised by CONCEA will be immediately accepted by ANVISA.

Brazil is the third largest cosmetics market and there have been considerable developments in introducing animal-free testing.  ANVISA uses the European definition of a cosmetic (Any substance or mixture intended to be placed in contact with the external parts of the human body (epidermis, hair system, nails, lips and external genital organs) or with the teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity, with a view to exclusively or mainly cleaning them, perfuming them, changing their appearance, protecting them, keeping them in a good condition, or correcting body odors.) but classifies them into two groups according to the likelihood of unwanted effects due to various factors.

Key dates

2003 Brazil adopts the 3R concept.
2008 Creation of the Nacional Center of Animal Testing CONCEA (Conselho Nacional de Experimentacao Animal)
2012 Brazil enters the OECD MAD Mutual Acceptance of Data for pesticide & chemicals.
The Brazilian Centre for Validation of Alternative Methods (BraCVAM) and The National Network of Alternative Methods RENAMA are established.
2013 SBMAlt—the Brazilian society of alternative methods—aims to simplify the process between the BraCVAM, the RENAMA, and the CONCEA.
2014 Animal testing is prohibited in Sao Paulo state for cosmetic products, perfumes, and body hygiene products

More detail can be found in this article: Brazil Laquieze 2015.

 Further information will appear here in the future.

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