New booklets to help people replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research have been developed by the New Zealand arm of ANZCCART, the Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching.
The principles of replace, reduce and refine are known as the 3Rs:
The booklets, which have been produced in collaboration with the Ministry of Primary Industries, will be provided to animal ethics committees, the research community, and to schools around New Zealand.
ANZCCART Committee member and University of Auckland microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles, who co-wrote the booklets, said that under New Zealand’s Animal Welfare Act, animal ethics committees must take the 3Rs into account when they are considering proposals for research, testing or teaching.
“This means that animals should only be used when there are no alternatives, and that any harm to animals must be weighed up against the benefit to humans or other animals, and those harms must be minimised.”
The eight titles set out innovative ways to follow the 3Rs in many areas of scientific research in accessible and non-specialist language.
One booklet explains how to use a chemical analysis technique rather than testing on mice to detect the presence of toxins in shellfish – an example of replacement.
Another outlines how the light produced by fireflies (known as bioluminescence) can be used to non-invasively track the location and numbers of bacteria within infected animals without having to euthanise them – an example of reduction.
A further booklet explains that animal suffering can be reduced by using blood-sucking insects to collect blood from wild birds rather than needing to catch the bird, which is stressful to the animal. The insects can be smuggled into a bird’s nest and then collected later to extract the blood from – an example of refinement.
“We hope the booklets will enable researchers to think creatively about how they can follow the principles of replace, reduce and refine in research they are involved with,” says Dr Wiles. “We also hope that the booklets will show school children and the wider public the techniques being used to reduce, refine and replace the use of animals in research, teaching and testing.”
The resources are being launched to coincide with the ANZCCART 2017 conference, being held as part of Queenstown Research Week from Saturday 2 September to Monday 4 September.
The conference is bringing over two international speakers on use of animals in research:
View more information on the ANZCCART Conference visit: https://anzccart.org.nz/anzccart-conference/
The booklets are now available on the ANZCCART website
ANZCCART is an independent body which was established to provide a focus for consideration of the scientific, ethical and social issues associated with the use of animals in research and teaching. The New Zealand Committee of ANZCCART is a special committee of Royal Society Te Apārangi.