The 'R' principles in laboratory animal experiments

Lab Anim Res. 2020 Dec 9;36(1):45. doi: 10.1186/s42826-020-00078-6.


Since the Three Rs of replacement, reduction and refinement was proposed by Russel and Birch in 1959, researchers have a moral duty to minimize harm to animals. Even though animal experiments are performed by the Three Rs concept, animal researches which do not comply with international rules and standards are not accepted as well. As animal welfare has been important global issues, the methods to assess animal welfare compromise and distress have been proposed. Humanity is accepted as the goal of the Three Rs, however, another fourth R, 'Refusal' of fruitless protocol or 'Responsibility' for the experimental animal and social, scientific status of the animal experiments has been proposed. After establishing goals of animal research in a respective society, reliable knowledge can be obtained while improving laboratory animal welfare.

Keywords: Reduction; Refinement; Refusal; Replacement; Responsibility; Welfare.

Publication types

  • Review