'Three Rs' principle (Replace, Reduce, Refine)
Increasing concern about the use of laboratory animals for toxicity studies and other effects of substances has led to widespread support of, and adherence to, the principle of the 3Rs of animal use in alternative test method development [Replacement, Reduction and Refinement], first defined by the scientists William Russell and Rex Burch in 'The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique' (1959).
Regulatory authorities have endorsed the principle of the 3Rs. As a consequence, alternative test methods have been developed to replace the use of animals with non-animal systems, reduce the number of animals in a test, or refine the procedures to make them less painful or stressful to the animals under study.
The on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (published on 20 October 2010) includes an explicit reference to the 3Rs principle.
Sources: (see disclaimer)
- OECD, Guidance Document No. 34 on the Validation and International Acceptance of new or Updated Test Methods for Hazard Assessment
- Altweb (the Alternatives to Animal Testing Web Site) for Russel and Burch's article
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