Towards more compassionate wildlife research through the 3Rs principles: moving from invasive to non-invasive methods

Research in ecology and wildlife biology remains crucial for increasing our knowledge and improving species management and conservation in the midst of the current biodiversity crisis. However, obtaining information on population status often involves invasive sampling of a certain number of individual animals. Marking and sampling practices include taking blood and tissue samples, toe-clipping of […]

Corticosterone Assimilation by a Voluntary Oral Administration in Palatable Food to Rats

Drug delivery in research on nonhuman animals in the laboratory is still challenging because it is usually invasive and stressful. Stress-free voluntary oral drug administration in water lacks precise control of dose and timing of substance ingestion. Voluntary oral consumption of corticosterone has been previously successfully applied in mice using oat flakes, but protocols for […]

In-Tank Underwater Cameras can Refine Monitoring of Laboratory Fish

Laboratory animals need to be monitored to check the status of their health and welfare. Routine checks of laboratory fish are limited to visual observations of physical appearance and behaviour, but for species held in opaque-walled tanks, such checks are compromised by restricted views, poor visibility and provoked behaviour. Here, we report our experience of […]

What is it like to be a rat? Rat sensory perception and its implications for experimental design and rat welfare

This review of rat sensory perception spans eight decades of work conducted across diverse research fields. It covers rat vision, audition, olfaction, gustation, and somatosensation, and describes how rat perception differs from and coincides with ours. As Nagel’s seminal work (1974) implies, we cannot truly know what it is like to be a rat, but […]

Effects of positive interaction with caretakers on the behaviour of socially housed common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus)

Every aspect of the life of the captive non-human primates should be carefully attended to, as updated refinement concept recommends. Interaction with humans as environmental enrichment for these animals is believed to be of value, but it has been subject to little quantitative evaluation. This study investigates the effects of positive interaction with humans on […]

The interplay between replacement, reduction and refinement: considerations where the Three Rs interact

Russell and Burch’s Three Rs principle of replacement, reduction and refinement offers a useful concept for the scientific and ethical evaluation of the use of animals in scientific procedures. Replacement, reduction and refinement are often considered separately, but when applied, one of the Three Rs may have a positive or negative effect on one or […]

Can non-invasive glucocorticoid measures be used as reliable indicators of stress in animals?

Refinement techniques are being increasingly employed in all fields of animal research to try to ensure that the highest standards of welfare are upheld. This review concerns one of the main emerging techniques for the assessment of welfare itself, namely the non-invasive measurement of glucocorticoids (GCs) as indicators of stress. The paper is divided into […]

Training laboratory-housed non-human primates, part 1: a UK survey

Training using positive reinforcement is increasingly recognised as a valuable tool for the humane and effective management and use of laboratory-housed non-human primates. We utilised a mixed-mode questionnaire to survey use of training and other learning processes (socialisation, habituation and desensitisation) in over half of UK establishments using and breeding primates. The survey demonstrated that […]

Refinement of the use of non-human primates in scientific research. Part I: the influence of humans

The welfare of non-human primates used in scientific research must be safeguarded to promote scientific validity and for ethical reasons. Welfare can be improved by the refinement of practice, particularly if these refinements are applied to every aspect of the life of an animal used in the laboratory, from birth to death with the aim […]

Refinement of the use of non-human primates in scientific research. Part II- housing, husbandry and acquisition

In order to safeguard the welfare of laboratory-housed non-human primates, refinement techniques should be applied to every aspect of the life of animals used in the laboratory, from birth to death, with the aim of both minimising harm and maximising well-being. In this second part of a three-part review we summarise published information on housing […]