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The 3 R's In 1959 Drs. Russell and Birch wrote the book called The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique, which defined an approach to the use of animals in research that has become universally accepted. The 3 R’s refer to: Replacementof animals by techniques; Reductionin animals numbers used; and Refinementof techniques to minimize distress. All institutions and investigators are bound by legislation to follow these principles. These 3 concepts must be addressed on the IACUC Application form under Part 11 - Consideration of Alternatives. Replacement Replacement could be achieved by substituting a species for one of the following: •Invertebrates or animals lower on the phylogenic scale but which would also satisfy the requirements of the project. This could mean moving from primates to sheep, or from dogs to frogs. •In vitro techniques such as tissue culture •Plant or bacterial systems; e.g., Ames test in toxicity testing •Chemical or immunoassays; e.g., replacement of rabbit pregnancy testing •Technology/Simulation; e.g., videos, mathematical or computer models, or plastic rat pictured ReductionAfter the decision is made to use animals, the numbers required may be reduced by one of the following methods: •Animal sharing •Optimal experimental design confirmed by appropriate statistics •Quality Assurance of Animal Health and Genetic Status Sharing- The sharing of animals and of parts of animals can reduce the total number of animals used per unit outcome. For example, having new staff practice a technique on animals that have been euthanized for other purposes, until the skill level approaches that of more experienced staff. Several studies have animals, which, as controls, are only given innocuous substances such as saline. Other researchers could easily use these animals for their projects. Optimal Experimental Design- It is important to include statistics in the design of your study. This could mean consulting with a statistician before you do any work. Failure to do this may mean that you collect data that may not be meaningful or publishable. The aim is to use the minimum number of animals that will provide a statistically valid result. Using too few animals may mean that the study has to be repeated; using too many Koken (plastic teaching rat) to demonstrate tail vein injection and gavage
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