Refinement of animal experiments
Refinement is one of the "three Rs" (Replacement, Reduction and Replacement) of Russell and Burch, a concept which is described in more detail here.
Russell and Burch defined the three Rs as:
Replacement alternatives: methods which permit a given purpose to be achieved without conducting experiments or other scientific procedures on animals
Reduction alternatives: methods for obtaining comparable levels of information from the use of fewer animals in scientific procedures, or for obtaining more information from the same number of animals
Refinement alternatives: methods which alleviate or minimise potential pain, suffering or distress, and which enhance animal well-being
The R of Refinement has been called the Cinderella of the 3Rs (Hau & Carver; van Zutphen), and this presentation discusses whether it still is.
The PREPARE guidelines contain links to many resources which can be used to refine animal research and testing, and to implement all the 3Rs.
Norecopa maintains a Refinement Wiki, with contributions from scientists and animal carers worldwide.
Examples of refinement efforts to end severe suffering are given here on the RSPCA website.
- On the road to refinement (Neff, 2021)
- Lilley E & Jennings M (2013): Refinement: Lessons from the 2012 Olympics (applying the principle of the aggregation of marginal gains)
- Hau J & Carver JFA (1994) Refinement in laboratory animal science; is it a Cinderella subject, and is there conflict and imbalance within the 3Rs? Scand J Lab Anim, Sci, 21, 161-7.
- van Zutphen LFM (1998): Refinement, the Cinderella of the 3Rs. In Ethics of Animal Experimentation, European Biomedical Research Association.
- Lloyd ML, Foden BW & Wolfensohn SE (2008): Refinement: promoting the three Rs in practice. Laboratory Animals, 42, 284-293.
- Special issue of the journal Animals in 2020 on Refinements to Animal Models in Biomedical Research
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