The Three R's

Reduce, Refine, Replace

Reduce the number of experimental animals per experiment by:

  • choosing appropriate species/strains
  • using quantitative rather than qualitative endpoints
  • careful consideration of a research strategy, i.e. pilot studies
  • improving experimental design with particular attention to statistical methods

Refine experiments on animals by minimizing animal discomfort:

  • developing suitable measurements of animal pain
  • using analgesia
  • minimizing pain and distress by allowing animals to acclimate to new surroundings, using suitable restraining techniques, and ensuring competency in techniques such as injections, surgery, euthanasia, etc.
  • disseminating and encouraging refinement techniques

Replace animal experiments by methods not requiring experimental animals:

  • using in vitro methods
  • using physical and chemical techniques
  • using lower organisms
  • using mathematical and computer models, videos, etc.