The Three Rs of Animal Research: What they Mean for the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and Why

TitleThe Three Rs of Animal Research: What they Mean for the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and Why
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsCurzer, H, Perry, G, Wallace, M, Perry, D
JournalScience & Engineering Ethics
Volume22
Issue2
Pagination549-565
Date Published2016
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number13533452
KeywordsANIMAL , ECOLOGY , ethics , PHILOSOPHY , policy , research , WILDLIFE
AbstractThe Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is entrusted with assessing the ethics of proposed projects prior to approval of animal research. The role of the IACUC is detailed in legislation and binding rules, which are in turn inspired by the Three Rs: the principles of Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement. However, these principles are poorly defined. Although this provides the IACUC leeway in assessing a proposed project, it also affords little guidance. Our goal is to provide procedural and philosophical clarity to the IACUC without mandating a particular outcome. To do this, we analyze the underlying logic of the Three Rs and conclude that the Three Rs accord animals moral standing, though not necessarily 'rights' in the philosophical sense. We suggest that the Rs are hierarchical, such that Replacement, which can totally eliminate harm, should be considered prior to Reduction, which decreases the number of animals harmed, with Refinement being considered last. We also identify the need for a hitherto implicit fourth R: Reject, which allows the IACUC to refuse permission for a project which does not promise sufficient benefit to offset the pain and distress likely to be caused by the proposed research. 
NotesCurzer, Howard 1; Email Address: howard.curzer@ttu.edu Perry, Gad 2; Email Address: gad.perry@ttu.edu Wallace, Mark 3; Email Address: mark.wallace@ttu.edu Perry, Dan; Email Address: perrdan@gmail.com; Affiliation: 1: Department of Philosophy, Texas Tech University, Lubbock 79409-3092 USA 2: Department of Natural Resources Management, International Center for Arid and Semiarid Land Studies, Texas Tech University, Lubbock 79409-2125 USA 3: Department of Natural Resources Management, Texas Tech University, Lubbock 79409-2125 USA; Source Info: Apr2016, Vol. 22 Issue 2, p549; Subject Term: ANIMAL models in research; Subject Term: ANIMAL experimentation; Subject Term: ETHICS; Subject Term: RESEARCH teams; Subject Term: RESEARCH management; Author-Supplied Keyword: Ecology; Author-Supplied Keyword: Philosophy; Author-Supplied Keyword: Policy; Author-Supplied Keyword: Research ethics; Author-Supplied Keyword: Wildlife science; Number of Pages: 17p; Document Type: Article
DOI10.1007/s11948-015-9659-8

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