Requirement for the Draize Test Removed From NZ Law

WIN: Removing the requirement for the cruel and outdated Draize Test from New Zealand Law.


There are no wins without the work. Thanks to a supporter-fueled campaign, run on sheer determination, together we did it!

The issue: The Draize Test is a cruel and outdated animal test that is used to try and assess if a substance will cause any eye or skin irritancy in humans by measuring the side effects on animals, normally albino rabbits.

This test has been around since 1944 and involves test substances being dropped into an animal’s eye or on an area of their skin where their fur has been shaved. The resulting negative response, which may include ulceration, inflamed/bleeding skin, swollen eyes, and blindness, is then measured using a numerical scale. 

Regulations relating to hazardous substances required this test. Hazardous substances include anything from cleaning products, agricultural compounds, solvents, and water treatment chemicals to tattoo inks, fuel additives and fertilisers. This outdated requirement means that rabbits are subject to tests where these types of substances are forced into their eyes or applied to their skin.

The solution: Together with you, NZAVS focused on exposing just how cruel and heavily flawed this test was via our public campaign and why it needs to stop.

Tactics included:

  • Exposing the Draize Test publicly.
  • Lobbying decision-makers with those distressing but factual expose details.
  • Encouraging our supporters to contact political decision makers to voice their outrage at this cruel test.

After working hard to expose this test and lobby decision-makers, a positive announcement was made by the then Minister for the Environment, Nick Smith:

"The EPA intends to remove any direct reference to Draize testing in the equivalent EPA Notice." 

At that time, the regulations in the Hazardous Substances Act were being shifted over to the Environmental Protection Authority. We were told that the Draize Test requirement would be removed — A huge win for lab animals and a step closer to animal experimentation ending! 

Update: As of 30 April 2021, New Zealand implemented a new classification system for hazardous substances called the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS 7). This is an international hazard classification system for chemicals created by the United Nations.

By moving hazardous substance controls out of regulations and into Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Notices, the explicit requirement for the Draize Test has been removed.

However, the new classification system references multiple different animal tests. Hence, there is a still a lot of work to be done to properly protect animals from cruel and unnecessary experiments for hazardous substances!


We would like to thank the then Minister for the Environment, Nick Smith and Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage for acting upon feedback from NZAVS and our thousands of powerful supporters about the cruelty of the Draize Test and its lack of social license in Aotearoa. 

With your help we can end animal experimentation in Aotearoa.