When planning and carrying out animal experiments, Utrecht University and UMC Utrecht are always striving for replacement, reduction and refinement of the animal experiment, the so-called '3 Rs'.
In this article
Replacement: the animal experiment is replaced by an alternative that does not involve animals.
Reduction: the number of animals involved in the experiment is kept as low as possible.
Refinement: the animals' discomfort (pain/distress) is prevented as much as possible before, during and after the experiment.
How 3R-methods have changed the use of animal experiments
Over the past 35 years the development and use of the 3R method has contributed to a change in the use of animal experiments for biomedical research:
- The use of experimental animals has been more than halved.
- The animals’ suffering has decreased. Severe discomfort is less prevalent.
- The animals’ welfare has improved, i.e. due to enrichment and socialising.
- The research into and use of animal-free methods has increased.
3R-methods and the transition to animal-free methods
Utrecht University and UMC Utrecht work to promote 3R-methods and alternatives to experiments on animals in various ways:
- In Utrecht many researchers work on the development and application of the so-called 3R’s.
- The Department of Animals in Science and Society at the faculty of Veterinary Medicine is responsible for optimising the welfare of animals using research, education and communication.
- The 3Rs Centre encourages the development, acceptance and implementation of 3R alternatives within Utrecht Life Sciences (ULS).
- Utrecht University works with the organisations Proefdiervrij and Dierenbescherming to reduce the number of laboratory animals, using tools such as the Animal Donor Codicil.
- The group TPU Utrecht is involved in accelerating the transition to animal free innovation.