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Open AccessConcept Paper

3Rs-Related and Objective Indicators to Help Assess the Culture of Care

RSPCA Research Animals Department; Wilberforce Way, Southwater, West Sussex RH13 9RS, UK
Novo Nordisk A/S, Novo Allé, 2880 Bagsvaerd, Denmark
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(11), 969;
Received: 14 October 2019 / Revised: 1 November 2019 / Accepted: 12 November 2019 / Published: 14 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 60 Years of the Three Rs and Their Impact on Animal Welfare)
‘Culture of Care’ within animal research and testing refers to a commitment to improve animal welfare, the quality of the science, staff morale, and openness with the public. An effective Culture of Care should also promote the replacement of animal experiments with humane alternatives, reductions in animal numbers and suffering, and better welfare through the refinement of procedures, housing, husbandry and care (collectively known as the 3Rs). The Culture of Care is recognized as the foundation of humane and responsible science, but the concept should be applied in a meaningful way and not simply used as a ‘buzzword’. Recognizing this, some establishments have begun to define and assess their individual Culture of Care. This paper provides some examples of their approaches to surveying staff and external colleagues. It also sets out some suggestions for objective criteria for assessing the Culture of Care, and for indicators that capture progress with each of the 3Rs. The aim is to complement the growing literature on the Culture of Care and highlight some sources of information and inspiration to help establishments tailor their own assessments.
Within animal research and testing, the need for an effective Culture of Care is widely recognized and described in terms of an establishment-wide commitment to improving the implementation of the 3Rs, animal welfare, scientific quality, care of the staff, and transparency for all stakeholders, including the public. Ideally, each establishment would determine what the Culture of Care means for them, and be able to assess and potentially benchmark their own culture. Some establishments already do this, using various indicators and formal or informal assessments. This paper provides examples of these approaches to assessing the Culture of Care, including surveys and surrogate measures. Many currently-used criteria and indicators tend to be human-centric and subjective, and we suggest using further objective indicators and animal-centric, 3Rs-based criteria. It is preferable to consider each of the 3Rs separately when assessing culture, and some indicators are suggested to facilitate this. Several documents produced by regulators in the UK and European Union are good sources of objective indicators of a good Culture of Care. This concept paper aims to complement the literature on assessing the Culture of Care, providing ideas and sources of information to help identify relevant and measurable criteria. View Full-Text
Keywords: 3Rs; Culture of Care; ethics; research animals; laboratory animal welfare; Animal Welfare Body; replacement; reduction; refinement 3Rs; Culture of Care; ethics; research animals; laboratory animal welfare; Animal Welfare Body; replacement; reduction; refinement
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Hawkins, P.; Bertelsen, T. 3Rs-Related and Objective Indicators to Help Assess the Culture of Care. Animals 2019, 9, 969.

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