Replacement, reduction, and refinement (the 3 Rs)
The 3 Rs principles (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) provide a framework for performing more humane animal research and are recognised in New Zealand’s animal welfare legislation, the Animal Welfare Act 1999.
The 3 Rs refer to:
- replacement of animals with a less sentient or non-sentient alternative wherever possible
- reduction in the numbers of animals to the minimum necessary to achieve a result
- refinement of procedures and animal environments to minimise pain or distress.
The Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund is a source of investment from central government for research involving the 3 Rs.
Expressions of interest with proposals relating to 3 Rs research should be sent to SFF Futures in the first instance.
NAEAC received and discussed an internal paper suggesting that adding the concept of 'Respect' as a fourth R could unify competing ethical perspectives to further improve animal welfare.
The concept of respect could be applied across different ethical views. For example, the term 'Respect' addresses the anti-vivisection perspective that all animals have an inherent value while remaining compatible with the science perspective that animals have instrumental value.
NAEAC has agreed to support the fourth R in principle and will continue discussions on the matter.
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