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Animal Welfare Principles

Animal Welfare Principles for research, testing and teaching

The Three Rs — replacement, reduction and refinement — were first introduced by the authors Russell and Burch in their 1959 book, The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique (available through the Johns Hopkins Alt Web website). Since then these ideas have become fundamental principles in the area of animal welfare for research, testing and teaching.

Replacement means that where possible we encourage and support the replacement of animal use with alternatives (e.g., cell cultures). We aim to help researchers, teachers and ethics committees know about and understand the alternatives to animal use. We promote recent developments in this area through our newsletters and conferences.

Reduction is about reducing the numbers of animals used in research, testing and teaching, without impacting on the quality of the data gained. This can be achieved through robust training programmes, preventing duplication of studies and ensuring good study design. ANZCCART promotes the principle of Reduction through the development of training programmes for people using animals, by promoting sharing of study design across Animal Ethics Committees and through information provided in our newsletters and conferences.

Refinement aims to minimise and eliminate the suffering of animals used for research, testing and teaching. Good animal husbandry, ethical conduct and empathy are important if refinements are to be achieved. ANZCCART works alongside the government, research institutions and Animal Ethics Committees to promote Refinement. We present regular updates on topics such as anaesthesia in research animals through our publications and conferences. We work alongside schools and other teaching institutions to promote awareness of animal research and encourage the use of good animal husbandry practices in all instances where animals are used for research or teaching.

Booklets outlining examples of the application of these principles can be found here.


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