The three R's
As part of the commitment to the ethical standards of animals in research, the alternatives to the use of animals have to be explored first before any project license is issued. If no other alternative is available, the project then has to demonstrate its commitment to the 3R’s:
- Replacement – an approach to research that does not involve the use of live animals. For example, this can be achieved through in vitro (tissue or cells) systems, in chemico (synthetic biochemical) approaches, or in silico (computer-based) methods.
- Reduction – an approach which results in fewer animals used to achieve the same objective, either by reducing the number of animals used, maximising the research per animal, or sharing research samples within the scientific community.
- Refinement – the data quality of results will increase in variability if the animals experience distress during the research. It is therefore in the project’s interest to conduct research under refined techniques which maximises the well-being of the animals involved.