Alternatives to the use of vertebrate animals for research must be explored and discussed in the research plan. Alternatives include the following “3 Rs”:
- Replace vertebrate animals with invertebrates, lower life forms, tissue/cell cultures or computer simulations
- Reduce the number of animals without compromising statistical validity
- Refine the experimental protocol to lessen pain or distress to the animals.
The 3Rs approach is also taken by the Canadian Council on Animal Care, the national body that oversees the welfare of animals used in research in post-secondary institutions and research facilities in Canada. You will be preparing your students for future research by having them follow this approach.