Alternatives to Animal Experimentation

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Alternatives to Animal Experimentation

The search for alternative methods to animal testing is underway in many laboratories across the entire world. While success has been made, the research is far from over. These alternatives have been developed using the concept of the three R’s.

In 1959, William Russell and Rex Burch defined the principle of the three R’s in the book Principles of Humane Experimental Technique. The three R’s are reduction, refinement, and finally replacement (5).

The first concept, reduction alternatives, covers any strategy that will result in fewer animals being used to obtain the same amount of information. Also, reduction refers to maximizing the information obtained per animal so as to limit or avoid the use of more animals. There are several approaches that can help to reduce the use of animals. Some laboratories alert all of the researchers when animals are going to be killed in an experiment. For example, one researcher may be doing a study on livers, and so other researchers may be able to use the kidneys, heart, or brain tissue for other experiments. In some cases it might also be possible to use in vitro methods, which are studies done with cells or tissues cultured in a petri dish, in place of in vivo methods, which are studies done in the living animal (3).

The second principle, refinement, represents the modification of any procedure from the time the laboratory animal is born until its death, to minimize the pain and distress experienced by the animal. Paying attention to issues of animal welfare is not only important in light of ethics, but also in the matter of good science. The experience of pain and other stress is likely to have an effect on the variability of experiment...

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5. FRAME: Fund For The Replacement Of Animals In Medical Research.

July 19, 2000.

(17 Oct. 2000).

6. In Vitro International: Corrositex. http://www.invitrointl.corrosit.htm

(17 Oct. 2000).

7. Kapis, Michael B. Non-Animal Techniques in Biomedical and Behavioral

Research and Testing. Boca Raton, FA: Lewis Publishers, 1993.

8. PETA Factsheets: Animal Experimentation. (17 Oct. 2000).

9. Stevens, Karen Lee. All For Animals: Animal Testing Alternatives. (17 Oct. 2000).

10. Tripos Discovery Software: TOPKAT. (17 Oct. 2000).

11. Welsh, Heidi J. Animal Testing and Consumer Products.

Washington, D.C.: Investor Responsibility Research Center, 1990
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