RSPCA focus on severe suffering website relaunch
The RSPCA has updated their 'Focus on Severe Suffering' web resource. They have refined the content and redesigned the website to make it more user friendly. This web page is regularly updated with information and resources, and includes a 'Road map' to help eliminate severe suffering. This is a series of practical steps that will enable establishments to identify ways to reduce, avoid, and ultimately end severe suffering. We strongly advise all researchers who use animals that could potentially experience significant suffering (moderate and severe severity) to review this valuable resource.
The NC3Rs (National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research) is the UK’s national organisation which works to discover and apply new technologies and approaches to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in science. It is an excellent resource for all 3Rs related information.
The NC3Rs has released a video resource for introductory training on the 3Rs. The video provides definitions of the 3Rs, practical advice on how to implement the 3Rs and video case studies of the 3Rs research. This video will help researchers and aspiring researchers to understand how the principles of the 3Rs can drive better science and improve animal welfare.
EURL ECVAM is the European Union Reference Laboratory for alternatives to animal testing. It is involved in validating and promoting alternative testing methods. The website is a good source of advice on theoretical and practical aspects of test validation, the current state of validation of alternative methods, as well as general animal welfare issues such as the use of genetically altered animals.
Animal study registry
The Animal Study Registry is an online global registry for scientific studies operated by the German Centre for the Protection of Laboratory Animals (Bf3R). It provides scientists with a platform to register an exact study plan prior to the start of experiments in order to prevent selective reporting. This registry aims to tackle the reproducibility crisis that is currently present and allows reviewers or other researchers to compare registered contents with final publications.
An online register for animal study protocols
In 2018, the University Medical Center Utrecht and the Netherlands Heart Institute launched the first online register for animal study protocols. It aims to provide comprehensive listings of preclinical animal study protocols. Using this resource, researchers can upload their study protocols, including details on randomisation, blinding and sample size calculations. These protocols will be stored on the website database, enabling other researchers to search for unpublished data before beginning their own research. This increases transparency, thereby avoiding the risk of study duplication and reporting bias. It also allows for comparison between multiple protocols. Registration is anonymous, free and allows for an optional embargo period.
FRAME is the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experimentation and its ultimate aim is to eliminate the need to use laboratory animals in the future. Until this is possible, FRAME works to support Reduction. The FRAME website has information about good experimental design (including training courses), and current projects which are working to identify non-animal alternative test methods.
Critical incident reporting in laboratory animal science
CIRS-LAS (Critical Incident Reporting System – Laboratory Animal Science) is an inter-institutional, Europe-wide reporting system for the anonymised acquisition and analysis of safety-relevant incidents in laboratory animal science. CIRS-LAS is based on the principles of the 3Rs. By collecting and sharing information on incidents and complications in experimental studies, and animal husbandry, appropriate actions can be taken in the future to prevent repeats of these incidents occurring. It may also provide a system to report negative results from laboratory animal studies. The reporting system is free and while you don't need to register to report an incident you must register to keep track of all submitted reports. The HPRA strongly advises all personnel involved in laboratory animal research to review and report to this website.
The Norecopa international workshop on the design and use of homemade and educational training aids took place on 11 April 2018. Presentations covering a large range of models and simulators to teach researchers and students about animal handling, procedures and surgical techniques are now available for downloading on the workshop website.
Norecopa meetings calendar
Norecopa has created a comprehensive meetings calendar for upcoming (and past) meetings/workshops/conferences relevant to laboratory animal science and the 3Rs. This is a useful resource, not only as such events will help you keep abreast of recent developments, but also because attendance at such events can be recorded as CPD in order to fulfil HPRA requirements for continuous training.
International register of preclinical trial protocols
PreclinicalTrials is an online register of protocols for preclinical animal studies conducted around the world. It aims to provide a comprehensive listing of preclinical animal study protocols, preferably registered at inception in order to increase transparency, help avoid duplication, and reduce the risk of reporting bias by enabling comparison of the completed study with what was planned in the protocol. Users are encouraged to join the database as it may help to increase the rigor of preclinical animal studies.
NC3Rs monthly podcast – ‘3 minute 3Rs’
The NC3Rs has developed a new monthly podcast summarising the latest research and updates in 3Rs science. Each podcast is only 3 minutes long, and is well worth a listen.
AniMatch is an online sharing platform facilitating the exchange of organs and tissues of laboratory animals used for scientific purposes, and is available in Europe for universities, private institutes and companies. This is an important platform which encourages responsible animal use and reduction.
TSAR is the Tracking System for Alternative test methods review, validation and approval in the context of EU Regulations on chemicals. The website provides information on the status of alternative methods as they progress from scientific proposals, through development, validation and regulatory approval, to eventually being used in a regulatory context.
The German Centre for the Protection of Laboratory Animals (Bf3R) has developed a website, which contains some useful 3Rs links, publications and information on alternatives.
This is a free database that lists tissues associated with mouse models of breast cancer, and makes them available without charge to scientists. This should foster collaborations, reduce duplication and therefore promote the principle of Reduction.
ToxBank is an EU project focused on the development of alternative (non-animal) testing methods in the areas of toxicology and safety assessment. It has a dedicated, publicly available ‘data warehouse’ for toxicity data management and modelling, a ‘gold standards’ compound database and repository of selected test compounds, and a reference resource for cells, cell lines and tissues of relevance for in vitro systemic toxicity research. The ToxBank team also works with scientists in the early stages of a research project to make sure that data is described in a quality-driven and correct format. Therefore this website should be consulted by any researchers who are considering using animals in toxicity testing.
Experimental Design Assistant
This is a free tool created to help researchers design robust and reproducible experiments using the minimum number of animals.
The Interspecies Database is a free online service to assist researchers in choosing the correct animal model or animal organ system for substance exposure studies that should result in data that are comparable to the effects of substance exposure in humans.
The Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC International) is a private, non-profit organisation that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programmes. The AAALAC website has a large number of useful resources including guides to the care and use of experimental animals, ethical evaluation, biosafety, euthanasia and health monitoring, as well as species-specific information.
Norecopa is Norway’s centre for the 3Rs and their website contains a wealth of information not just for scientists, but also for caretakers, technicians and those evaluating projects. It includes resources on farm animals, wildlife, fish and laboratory species.
The ETPLAS (Education & Training Platform for Laboratory Animal Science) website has been updated to include an updated constitution, additional course information and links to education and training courses in different Member States.
The Humane Endpoints website has been updated by the 3Rs-Centre Utrecht Life Sciences. It provides useful guidance on how to apply humane endpoints, identify pain and distress, use score sheets etc. and is based on mice and rats. It also provides useful links and could be incorporated into an establishment’s training programme.
FLAIR e-learning resources
FLAIR e-learning provides free e-learning courses on laboratory animals, such as anaesthesia and the prevention of pain, suffering and distress.
The FLAIRE Learning website has been updated with a refreshed design and two new modules on anaesthesia: ‘Pre-Anaesthetic preparations’ and ‘Choosing an Anaesthetic’. These online interactive modules are free, and would be useful in terms of CPD.
Laboratory Animal Anaesthesia
A new free e-learning resource on laboratory animal anaesthesia is now available online. It was developed by Professor Paul Flecknell and his team at Newcastle University and is funded by the NC3Rs. We highly recommend the widespread use of this resource within laboratory animal establishments, as it should lead to a sustained improvement in the welfare of animals, and potentially improve the quality of the scientific data obtained.
The 3R Guide database
This database is a collaboration between Norecopa, which is Norway’s 3R Centre, and the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Information Center. It is a searchable 3Rs database with resources such as guidelines, journals and websites.
The 3Rs Microsite
This is a Canadian website dedicated to the 3Rs which has a 3Rs search guide, as well as other resources for researchers using both farm and laboratory animals.
USDA Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC)
This is a US based site, which provides information on improved animal care and use in research, testing, and teaching.
Procedures with Care
This is a website which provides a series of resources (such as videos) to support the adoption of best practice for commonly used procedures in animal research.
European Commission inventory of 3Rs knowledge sources
An inventory of knowledge sources potentially relevant to the 3Rs has been compiled by the EC's Joint Research Centre (JRC) based on data from its survey in 2016 of 800 knowledge sources relevant to the 3Rs. The inventory should be viewed as a snapshot of the current status of knowledge sources available, and as a starting point for further analysis of knowledge sharing strategies.
Reporting critical incidents
An interdisciplinary group of researchers in Germany have established an online portal for the anonymous reporting of accidents or other critical incidents in laboratory animal environments: CIRS-LAS (Critical Incident Reporting System in Laboratory Animal Science). Only registered users may post reports, which are then moderated, but the reports are then made publicly available. Examples of incidents previously uploaded include: ‘soft tissue implant in rabbit’ and ‘animal escapes during transportation’.