3R - Replace, Reduce, Refine
The principles of the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement) were described more than 50 years ago by William Russel and Rex Burch.
Replacement describes methods and approaches to avoid or replace the use of animals. While partial replacement avoids the use of live animals of species that are thought to be capable of suffering. Full replacement aims to replace the use of all animal species and products of animal origin. Reduction refers to all approaches that aim to minimize the number of animals used per study. This might include technologies like imaging but also the appropriate experimental design and statistical analysis of the data. Refinement refers to all measures that minimize pain, stress and suffering in experimental animals and that improve animal welfare.
Today the 3Rs are guiding principles for performing more humane animal research and are embedded in national and international legislation. The University of Zurich is committed to advance the 3Rs in research and education.