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The 3Rs

The 3Rs

FRAME subscribes to and champions a philosophy known as the 3Rs – replacement, reduction and refinement. The 3Rs sets out principles for the ethical use of animals in science with the goal of reducing levels of animal use in laboratories. The primary aim is to replace animal tests with non-animal alternatives where they are available, but the 3Rs have a broader scope of improving animal welfare and scientific quality when animal use is deemed unavoidable.

The 3Rs were first proposed by in 1959 by William Russell and Rex Burch in their landmark paper The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique”. The concept of replacement, reduction and refinement is still the most effective way to bring about an eventual end to the use of animals in laboratories.  The order of the 3Rs is important to us, as it was to Russell and Burch. We firmly believe that replacement is the most important element and primarily focus our efforts on this aspect and the development of alternative, non-animal methods. The current levels of animal use in laboratories is unacceptable and unnecessary, where alternatives exist they must be utilised, adapted and progressed. Sadly robust non-animal methods are not yet available in all areas of animal testing and research. Where alternatives are not yet available, and animals must be used in experiments, the 3Rs require that the fewest number of animals should be used in a study to provide valid, reliable data. The final 3Rs principle states that when animals are being used, scientific and husbandry procedures must be refined to prioritise welfare and minimise suffering.

At FRAME we fund research on replacement as well as publish and promote work across all 3Rs, promote the implementation of 3Rs improvements, and disseminate information on the latest developments in the field of animal alternatives.


We are dedicated to the development of new and valid methods that will replace the need for laboratory animals in medical and scientific research, education and testing.


Where the use of animals is currently necessary, we support the reduction of numbers involved to an unavoidable minimum.


We support the refinement of experimental procedures to minimise any suffering caused.

Read more about the 3Rs in our blogs:

What are the 3Rs?
The 3Rs and the future
The issue

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