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Open AccessFeature PaperEssay

The 3Rs and Humane Experimental Technique: Implementing Change

UFAW, the Old School, Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire AL4 8AN, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(10), 754;
Received: 6 September 2019 / Revised: 24 September 2019 / Accepted: 26 September 2019 / Published: 30 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 60 Years of the Three Rs and Their Impact on Animal Welfare)
The 3Rs: Replacement, Reduction and Refinement, formulated by William Russell and Rex Burch, have become synonymous with the measures to improve the welfare of animals used in research and are now used as an ethical framework for improving laboratory animal welfare throughout the world. This introduction to a special issue on the 3Rs explains how a non-confrontational and scientific approach led to their development, and briefly summarizes their adoption around the world.
In 1959, the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) Scholars Russell & Burch published the Principles of Humane Experimental Technique in which they laid out the principles of the Three Rs. However, the Three Rs owed much to others. It was UFAW and, in particular, UFAW’s Founder and Director, Major Charles Hume who identified the problem that needed to be tackled, and who developed the non-confrontational approach that was needed to both formulate the questions that needed answers and to obtain the answers from the research community. Russell & Burch’s work was also guided by an expert scientific and technical committee chaired by the Nobel Prize winner Sir Peter Medawar. This essay describes the history of the Three Rs using publications by the protagonists and others as well as material from UFAW’s archives. It describes the background to the employment of Russell & Burch, the methodology of Russell & Burch’s approach and the impact of their work up to the present day—where the Three Rs are incorporated in legislation throughout the world. View Full-Text
Keywords: the 3Rs; the Three Rs; replacement; reduction; refinement; alternatives; housing and husbandry; laboratory animals the 3Rs; the Three Rs; replacement; reduction; refinement; alternatives; housing and husbandry; laboratory animals
MDPI and ACS Style

Hubrecht, R.C.; Carter, E. The 3Rs and Humane Experimental Technique: Implementing Change. Animals 2019, 9, 754.

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