The Challenges In Developing 3Rs Alternative Methods
This study surveyed academic and professional researchers who conduct animal experiments at the 8th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences. The survey addressed attitudes toward and implementation of the 3Rs–reduction, refinement, and replacement–for the use of animals in experiments. For professional researchers in both the U.S. and the E.U. the main motivations for using the 3Rs were legislation, scientific relevance, and ethical issues. In the E.U., academic researchers must comply with legislation that enforces principles of the 3Rs, whereas in the U.S. they do not and are motivated instead by funding sources that prefer the use of non-animal methods.
In this study, researchers surveyed industrial and academic organisation members about challenges to developing and using alternatives to animal models in research. In the E.U., researchers in industries reported legislation, scientific relevance, and ethical issues as the major driving factors in developing alternative methods to animal models. Similarly, researchers in industries in the US reported consumer interest in ethical issues and regulations as important drivers.
However, in the academic sector there were some differences identified between the E.U. and the U.S.. In the E.U., researchers in academia were required to follow the E.U. Directive, which encourages the development and use of alternatives to animals in research, and were required to gain approval from national governmental evaluation committees. In contrast, academic researchers in the U.S. did not consider legislation or regulation to be important drivers in developing non-animal alternatives. Instead, the most important drivers were funding from organisations concerned with the use of alternatives, and practical considerations with the use of animals. There were also differences in practical attitudes between the E.U. and the U.S..
The authors concluded it was important to involve industry, academia and regulatory agencies on an international scale in the development of alternatives to the use of animals in research.
An article addressing this study is published here.