The Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (2013) promotes the ethical, humane and responsible use of animals for scientific purposes. Sections 1.18-1.30 of the Code explain how to apply the 3Rs at all stages of a project. Consideration of the 3Rs will improve experimental design and consequently the quality of research publications. 

The ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments) guidelines are recommended reading as they share many points with the 3Rs for designing research projects.

Electronic resources are available to UQ staff and students with suggestions for applying the 3Rs to projects. The Animal Ethics Unit recommend applicants use of these resources when preparing animal ethics applications. The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) is one that addresses all 3Rs. The Inventory of 3R’s Knowledge Sources is another valuable resource which allows users to consult all 3R known sources.

Replacement of animals with other methods

Methods that replace or partially replace the use of animals must be investigated, considered and wherever applicable, implemented. Opportunities to replace the use of animals must be kept under review for the lifetime of a project.

Reduction in the number of animals used

The number of animals used in a project must be the minimum necessary to achieve the proposed aim(s) and to satisfy good statistical design. However, reducing the number of animals used should not result in greater harm, including pain and distress, to the animals used. 

Refinement of techniques or procedures to minimise adverse impacts on animals

The effectiveness of strategies for supporting and safeguarding animal wellbeing is vital and must also be kept under review for the lifetime of project activities.  

Ensure you are appropriately trained before commencing work with animals.