Skip Navigation

REFINEMENT: INDEX

ratnest

We owe much to laboratory animals, and that debt can best be repaid by good treatment and keeping painful experiments to a minimum.
 
—former U.S. Senator Bob Dole*

REFINEMENT
Minimizing Pain and Distress for Laboratory Animals

Refinement is the third of the "Three R's" of alternatives, first formulated by British researchers William Russell and Rex Burch in their classic 1959 book, The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique. They defined refinement as follows: "any decrease in the incidence or severity of inhumane procedures applied to those animals which still have to be used." In recent years, we have come to speak of refinement more in terms of techniques that minimize any pain or distress the animals may experience.

Refinement covers anything that serves to reduce the animals' pain and distress or to enhance their well-being. These alternatives may come in a great variety of forms. Giving an animal appropriate medication for pain is a prime example. Techniques that are less invasive to the animal also may constitute refinement. For example, researchers can use such modern medical technologies as ultrasound or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to look at what is happening inside an animal without cutting into it. Refinement also includes giving animals bigger cages, offering them appropriate toys to play with, and allowing them to have companions of their own kind (if that is a natural condition for the species).

This refinement section follows a format similar to that of the Altweb special section on monoclonal antibodies, or MABs, with introductory text explaining the topic in non-technical language, accompanied by a set of links to relevant databases, web sites, books, articles, abstracts, and so on. The section addresses the following topics:

This refinement section was developed for Altweb by Dr. Roberta Friedman, in cooperation with CAAT's communications coordinator. Dr. Friedman holds a doctorate in pharmacology and has more than 20 years experience as a science writer.

We plan to continue developing and expanding this section. If you have any additions or corrections to offer, please e-mail choward@jhsph.edu.

* Senator Dole helped bring about the 1985 amendment to the U.S. Animal Welfare Act, which added many features aimed at reducing pain and distress for laboratory animals.


General Readings and Resources on Refinement

New ALTEX: 1/2016

ALTEX 2.16 cover

Support ALTWEB, Make a Gift
Online Humane Science Course

MeetingS

 
Promoting Dialogue Between In Vivo, In Vitro, and In Silico
May 18, 2016
Milan, Italy
mailto:acu@marionegri.it

SOT In Vitro and Alternatives Methods Speciality Section Grad Student and Postdoc Webinar
May 18, 2016
11am EDT

Mucosal Immunity and In Vitro Science
May 19, 2016
Milan, Italy

CAAT Academy: In Silico Modeling and Tools Under REACH 
May 20, 2016
Hosted by ROCAM in Cluj, Romania
Registration and Information

ACTC 2016 Conference
May 30-June 1, 2016
Barcelona, Spain

Kirkstall Workshop
June 2-3, 2016
Barcelona, Spain
oana.voloaca@kirkstall.org

CAAT Academy: Animal-free Pyrogenicity and Endotoxin Testing Under the New EU Pharmacopeia Chapter 5.1.10
June 8th, 2016
Konstanz, Germany 
 
17th International Conference on QSAR in Environmental and Health Sciences (QSAR 2016)
June 13-17, 2016
Miami Beach, Florida

17th Annual Congress of EUSAAT/20th European Congress on Alternatives to Animal Testing
August 24-27, 2016
University of Linz, Austria

ESTIV 2016 Congress: In Vitro Toxicology for Human Safety Assessment
October 17-20, 2016
Juan-les-Pins, France

AALAS 67th Annual Meeting
October 30-November 3, 2016
Charlotte, NC

SAVE THE DATE:
10th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences
August 20-24, 2017
Seattle, Washington
 

More Meetings...