Charles River is firmly committed to the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement) and helps to reduce the number of animals used by emphasizing health and genetic integrity to decrease study data variability. We also partner with customers to develop study designs decreasing the number of animals needed and suggesting pilot studies where appropriate. Visit our 3Rs in Action page for more examples of how we incorporate these principles into our operations.
William Russell & Rex Burch
The 3Rs approach to in vivo research was defined by William Russell and Rex Burch in their book, Principles of Humane Experimental Technique. It proposes a strategy to minimize animal use and maximize animal well-being in laboratory experimentation. It is an ethical approach to the utilization of animals in research.
Any experimental system that does not entail the use of a whole, living animal is considered to be a replacement alternative.
The concept of reduction alternatives covers any strategy that will result in less animals being used to obtain the same amount of information, or in maximizing the information obtained per animal and thus limiting or avoiding the subsequent use of additional animals.
The term refinement signifies the modification of any procedures that operate over the life of a laboratory animal, so as to minimize the pain and distress experienced by the animal and to enhance its well-being.