3-Ethical issues, harm-benefit assessment and humane endpoints

Each research project has its own set of ethical challenges, but the following general questions should be raised for all projects:

  1. Have national or local research ethics committees already produced statements relevant to the research being planned?
  2. Have the Three Rs (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement) been addressed, and will any advances in this area be mentioned in publications of the study (remembering that many databases only index the title and abstract of papers)? Which non-animal alternatives have been considered but rejected?
  3. Have the Three S's (Good Science, Good Sense and Good Sensibilities) been addressed?
  4. Does the proposed study have a clear rationale and scientific relevance, and what will be the next step if the hypothesis is supported or rejected?
  5. Have the experiments been carried out before, and is any repetition justifiable?
  6. What approaches to reduce distress have been considered?

Ethics are also discussed in a separate section of this website

General principles
For fish researchers

This section will be used to publish resources for fish researchers and animal care staff.

The RSPCA arranged a meeting on 23 February 2021 entitled Focus on Fish, which contained several relevant presentations. There was a session on Welfare Assessment and Humane Endpoints, including identifying ill health in zebrafish; humane endpoints and the 3Rs in regulatory assessments; and refining the Fish Acute Toxicity Test (OECD TG203).

Adam Staszny et al. (2021), working on fish ecotoxicity, have shown that the output of traditional risk assessment based on ecotoxicological data is not necessarily consistent with the real-life situation, and that changes in body and fin shape may good sub-lethal endpoints when performing in vivo studies.

The website https://www.humane-endpoints.info/en has sections dedicated to zebrafish.

This page was updated on 29 July 2021

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