Topic Editors

Comparative Biology Centre, The Medical School University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK
Cardiology Research Laboratory, Department of Cardiology, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, IRCCS, 20145 Milan, Italy

Application of the 3Rs to Promote the Welfare of Animals Used in Scientific Research and Testing

Abstract submission deadline
20 June 2025
Manuscript submission deadline
20 September 2025
Viewed by
3592

Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

Effective application of the principles of the 3Rs is critical to the successful use of research animals. Studies should be conducted in as refined a manner as possible while reducing the required numbers as much as possible, or Replacing animal use either entirely or partially, such as by using species that are believed either to be non-sentient or to have low sentience capacity. The importance of this topic cannot be overemphasized, as applying the 3Rs provides the principal framework by which research and testing is conducted in an ethically sound manner. Indeed, their application is able to provide high-quality, potentially more reproducible data due to the avoidance of unnecessary suffering. Submissions from any research discipline are invited. Researchers may use any species in which either positive or negative findings further knowledge on refinement, on how to Reduce animal numbers using statistical methods or improved study designs, and ultimately, on how to Replace the use of animals in scientific testing and research. Submissions describing studies using new and/or advanced non-invasive procedures are particularly welcome.

Dr. Johnny Roughan
Dr. Laura Calvillo
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • refinement
  • reduction
  • replacement
  • welfare
  • reproducibility

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Animals
animals
3.0 4.9 2011 18.1 Days CHF 2400 Submit
Fishes
fishes
2.3 1.9 2016 15.7 Days CHF 2600 Submit
Veterinary Sciences
vetsci
2.4 2.9 2014 19.6 Days CHF 2600 Submit

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Published Papers (2 papers)

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15 pages, 267 KiB  
Article
Animal Research Regulation: Improving Decision-Making and Adopting a Transparent System to Address Concerns around Approval Rate of Experiments
by David Mawufemor Azilagbetor, David Shaw and Bernice Simone Elger
Animals 2024, 14(6), 846; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14060846 - 9 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1393
Abstract
The use of nonhuman animals in biomedical research is regulated under stringent conditions, not only in response to societal attitudes towards animal experimentation but also because ethical responsibility in scientific research requires researchers and veterinarians to be more invested and aim to improve [...] Read more.
The use of nonhuman animals in biomedical research is regulated under stringent conditions, not only in response to societal attitudes towards animal experimentation but also because ethical responsibility in scientific research requires researchers and veterinarians to be more invested and aim to improve the welfare of animals used for experiments. Analyses of animal research oversight reveal the frequent approval of experiments, and the approval of some experiments has raised and continues to raise public concerns. Societal compliance is required for a consensus-based approach to animal research policy, prompting the need to have transparent discussions about oversight and the frequency of approvals. We discuss how frequent approval may be perceived and why it seems problematic from a societal perspective: the regulatory process exists to approve only legitimate experiments. Although some experiments remain unacceptable irrespective of their harm–benefit ratios, almost all experiments are approved. We explain some possible legitimate reasons for frequent approval and how the review process could be leading to the approval of illegitimate studies. To ensure transparency and improve public trust and understanding of oversight, we propose the adoption of a platform to inform society about how unethical experiments are screened out. Full article
11 pages, 1175 KiB  
Article
Reporting of 3Rs Approaches in Preclinical Animal Experimental Studies—A Nationwide Study
by Birgitte S. Kousholt, Kirstine F. Præstegaard, Jennifer C. Stone, Anders F. Thomsen, Thea T. Johansen, Merel Ritskes-Hoitinga and Gregers Wegener
Animals 2023, 13(19), 3005; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13193005 - 23 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1573
Abstract
The 3Rs aim to refine animal welfare, reduce animal numbers, and replace animal experiments. Investigations disclose that researchers are positive towards 3Rs recommendations from peers. Communication of 3Rs approaches via primary preclinical animal experimental literature may become a fast-forward extension to learn relevant [...] Read more.
The 3Rs aim to refine animal welfare, reduce animal numbers, and replace animal experiments. Investigations disclose that researchers are positive towards 3Rs recommendations from peers. Communication of 3Rs approaches via primary preclinical animal experimental literature may become a fast-forward extension to learn relevant 3Rs approaches if such are reported. This study investigates 3Rs-reporting in peer-reviewed preclinical animal research with at least one author affiliated to a Danish university. Using a systematic search and random sampling, we included 500 studies from 2009 and 2018. Reporting was low and improvement over time limited. A word search for 3R retrieved zero results in 2009 and 3.2% in 2018. Reporting on 3Rs-related sentences increased from 6.4% in 2009 to 18.4% in 2018, “reduction” increased from 2.4% to 8.0%, and “refinement” from 5.2% to 14.4%. Replacement was not reported. Reporting of the methodology was missing. For “reduction”, methodology was mentioned in one study in 2009 and 11 studies in 2018, and for “refinement” in 9 and 21, respectively. Twenty-one studies stated compliance with ARRIVE-guidelines or similar without disclosure of details. Reporting of 3Rs approaches in preclinical publications is currently insufficient to guide researchers. Other strategies, e.g., education, interdisciplinary collaboration, and 3Rs funding initiatives, are needed. Full article
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