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Animal Research

3. The Three 'R's

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In the third mini-lecture, we discuss the three ‘R’s of animal research: refinement, reduction and replacement. When we think about animals in the laboratory, we are responsible for the conditions they are kept in, and the quality of their care. For example, in this lecture we appreciate some of these refinements possible such as the size of their cages, reducing the number of dosages given and so on. Then, we appreciate how the number of animals used in experiments can be reduced through better experimental design. Finally we examine the final ‘R’, replacement. We learn about the different methods to replace animals in research, either by complete or incomplete methods. Among others, we talk about computer-based modelling, cell cultures or using tissue from humanely killed animals, before finally looking at Bateson’s Cube, a method of visualisation to determine whether your experiment involving animals is well designed.


In this lecture, Dr Chris Willmott (University of Leicester) introduces the use of animals in scientific research. To do so, we begin by: (i) contextualising animal research in the UK, analysing the species used and regulated, and the number of different species and animals of each species used; before (ii) looking at the ethical theories that govern opinion on animal research, including how public opinion on it has shifted, but also how itself has affected legislation in the UK; and then (iii) learning about the three ‘R’s of animal research; then (iv) continuing to understand the nuance of opinion by looking at the use of model organisms such as zebrafish; before finally (v) understanding the use of invertebrates in research.


Dr Chris Willmott is an academic and author based in the UK. He has particular interests in: bioethics, pedagogy (including the development of innovative teaching activities and "authentic assessment"), the use of broadcast media and other audiovisual resources in education, and antibiotic resistance

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APA style

Willmott, C. (2022, August 30). Animal Research - The Three 'R's [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Willmott, C. "Animal Research – The Three 'R's." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 30 Aug 2022,

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