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Animal Welfare and 3Rs

3R Coordination

3R - Replace, Reduce, Refine

3R Prinzip

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.

3R Coordinator: Dr. Paulin Jirkof

Paulin Jirkof studied biology at the Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany. She obtained her PhD in Neuroscience / Laboratory Animal Science at the University of Zurich and her Master in Management, Technology, and Economics at the ETH Zurich. Since 2014 she worked as a junior group leader at the Division of Surgical Research, University Hospital Zurich. Her scientific field of interest is the evaluation of severity assessment tools and the reliable assessment, minimization and treatment of pain and distress in laboratory rodents.

2013 she has been certified as an expert for laboratory animal science by the German Society of Laboratory Animal Science. She lectures on animal welfare, pain assessment, analgesia and the 3Rs at the University of Zurich and RWTH, Aachen, Germany.

Paulin Jirkof is strongly committed to replacement, reduction and refinement of animal-based research, and is promoting an interdisciplinary dialogue on animal welfare, research and animal use.

Since April 2018 Paulin Jirkof is 3R coordinator for the University of Zurich and represents the University of Zurich as node coordinator at the Swiss 3RCC.

Publications Paulin Jirkof

Winterthurerstr. 190, CH-8057 Zürich
Tel. +41 44 63 58294

Communication: Laura Kämpfen

Laura Kämpfen (BA) is studying Philosophy and Social Anthropology in her MA at the University of Basel. Her research focuses on animal philosophy, (bio)medical ethics and medical anthropology. She deals with these topics primarily within the framework of the One Health approach and is concerned with the question of how the health of humans, animals and the environment interact.  

With her background in the humanities, she has been supporting and supplementing the Office for Animal Welfare and 3R in communications since 2023. She is passionate about making animals visible in the reality of research and communicating fact-based information about animal experiments. 

Winterthurerstr. 190, CH-8057 Zürich
Tel. +41 44 63 58294



Weiterführende Informationen

3Rs at UZH

Wherever possible, research using animals should be replaced with methods that do not involve animals. The number of animals in a study should be kept as low as possible without reducing statistical significance. And the stress caused to animals should be reduced as far as possible by improving experimental procedures and conditions. Replace, reduce, refine – these are the guiding principles of the 3Rs principle.

Examples UZH Projects


The 3Rs principle (Video)

The 3Rs. Their definition, application and importance to your work.

watch the video

Swiss 3R Competence Center

The 3R Competence Centre Switzerland (3RCC) promotes the 3Rs principles - i.e. the replacement, reduction and refinement of animal testing - in Switzerland and supports their implementation in the life sciences, focusing on research, education and communication.

3RCC website

3RCC Annual Report