Philosophy of AR >
Animal Testing Index >
The 3 R's are:
1. refine existing tests by minimizing animal
2. reduce animal usage.
3. replace whole animal tests.
One organization has been set up to promote these goals:
The Centre for Alternatives to
A quote from their mission page: "CAAT recognizes that non-whole
animal (alternative) methods act in concert with whole animal and clinical
1. Advance science.
2. Develop new products and drugs.
3. Prevent, treat and cure
I have another example. Being involved in the ethical aspects
of animal experiments, there is one semantic trick that really
bothers me - no, it makes me mad. Since William Russel och Rex
Burch published The principles of humane experimental technique
(1959), 'the three R' (Refine, Reduce, Replace) have been
increasingly popular with animal experimentors. The concept had
a renaissance in the 1980's, and now the label 'alternative' is
very often used as soon as one of the R's in 'Refine, Reduce,
Replace' apply. (Obviously, if you replace an animal experiment
with a non-animal alternative, the 'Refine' and 'Reduce' become
irrelevant.) How about that for an example of Newspeak? The
'alternatives' to animal experiments are not experiments without
animals, but experiments on animals that are 'less' painful
('refined') and involve 'fewer' animals ('reduced'). Using the
same logic: the 'alternative' to driving a car is not biking,
swimming, or whatever, but driving your car a bit slower. The
problem is that this disgusting way of using the word
'alternative' is now happily used by politicians and research
institutions world-wide, who maintain they they are developing
'alternatives', that they already use 'alternatives', and that
they need more money for their 'alternative' experiments,
animal-friendly as they are.