Alternatives to animals

Alternatives to using animals in research, testing or teaching

This section contains a selection of resources highlighting the alternatives to using animals in research, testing and teaching.

The Three Rs animal welfare principles

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).

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.

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.

Three Rs Resources

The Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching (ANZCCART) and the Ministry for Primary Industries have produced a series of booklets  on the application of the three Rs (replacement, reduction and refinement) in the use of animals in research and teaching.