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Refinement: promoting the three Rs in practice.

Lloyd, MH, Foden, BW and Wolfensohn, SE (2008) Refinement: promoting the three Rs in practice. Lab Anim, 42 (3). pp. 284-293.

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Refinement of scientific procedures carried out on protected animals is an iterative process, which begins with a critical evaluation of practice. The process continues with objective assessment of the impact of the procedures, identification of areas for improvement, selection and implementation of an improvement strategy and evaluation of the results to determine whether there has been the desired effect, completing the refinement loop and resulting in the perpetuation of good practice. Refinements may be science-driven (those which facilitate getting high-quality results) or welfare-driven or may encompass both groups, but whatever the driver, refinements almost always result in benefits to both welfare and science. Refinements can be implemented in all aspects of animal use: improved methodology in invasive techniques, housing and husbandry, and even statistical analyses can all benefit animal welfare and scientific quality. If refinement is not actively sought, outdated and unnecessarily invasive techniques may not be replaced by better methods as they become available, and thus outdated information is passed down to the next generation, causing perpetuation of old-fashioned methods. This leads to a spiral of ignorance, leading ultimately to poor practice, poor animal welfare and poor-quality scientific data. Refinement is a legal and ethical requirement, yet refinements may not always be implemented. There are numerous obstacles to the implementation of refinement, which may be real or perceived. Either way, in order to take refinement forward, it is important to coordinate the approach to refinement, validate the science behind refinement, ensure there is adequate education and training in new techniques, improve liaison between users and make sure there is feedback on suitability of refinements for use. Overall, refinement requires a coordinated ongoing process of critical appraisal of practice and active scrutiny of resources for likely improvements. In the busy world of biomedical research, this process needs help. In order to develop these themes further, a workshop was held at the LASA Winter Meeting 2006, UK, to assist in identifying potential obstacles to refinement, and then to explore and develop strategies for overcoming these obstacles in key areas. A range of strategies appropriate to different circumstances was identified, which should facilitate the implementation of refinements.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine
Authors :
Lloyd, MH
Foden, BW
Date : July 2008
DOI : 10.1258/la.2007.007045
Uncontrolled Keywords : Animal Welfare, Animals, Humans, Models, Animal, Research, Research Design
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 17 May 2017 10:07
Last Modified : 19 Dec 2019 00:25

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