3Rs Databases are essential tools for researchers to reduce, refine and replace laboratory animal experimentation

The 3Rs-Centre ULS has initiated the 3Rs database programme. This programme makes 3Rs information freely available and aims to contribute to the implementation of the 3Rs in animal research. The database programme exists of three databases, the Interspecies Database (1), the Humane Endpoints website (2), and the FCS-free Database (3).

 

The homepage of the Interspecies Database

1. The Interspecies Database (www.interspeciesinfo.com) provides insight into physiological, anatomical and biochemical parameters of different animal species and humans. By using the database, researchers can design their experiments smarter with respect to the choice of an animal model. This could lead to a reduction in the number of experimental animals. Above all, this improves the scientific research quality. Users have indicated a reduction of on average 20% of laboratory animals annually, while some users reported a reduction of up to 40%. The website was initiated by the Dutch Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), which is responsible for the database content.

2. The Humane Endpoints website (www.humane-endpoints.info) provides information about humane endpoints and teaches how to recognize humane endpoints in rodents and fish. This helps prevent further suffering for the animals by removing the animals from the experiment (e.g. euthanizing the animals) or by applying analgesia. The website contributes to refinement: the prevention of unnecessary suffering in laboratory animals. The website is already successfully used in several laboratory animal science courses worldwide.

 

Homepage of the FCS-free Database

3. The FCS-free Database (fcs-free.org) provides an overview of the range of commercially available FCS-free media for cell-culture. Fetal Calf Serum (FCS, also known as Fetal Bovine Serum, or FBS) is a common supplement of animal cell culture media. However, FCS is harvested, with a high chance of suffering, from bovine foetuses taken from pregnant cows during slaughter. Furthermore, since it is a natural product, the composition of the commercially available FCS varies from batch to batch, which impedes the reproducibility of results. These moral and scientific concerns demonstrate the urgency to switch to an FCS-free medium. The FCS-free Database is used as a platform for researchers to discuss the applicability of each product. Besides a list of commercially available FCS-free media, the website also contains medium compositions obtained from scientific literature. The database is offered by the 3Rs-Centre ULS in collaboration with Animal Free Research UK.

 

These three information sources do not receive any subsidies and therefore their future rely on donations and gifts. You can help keeping the websites available by donating only a small amount of money for the Interspecies Database, the Humane Endpoints website or the FCS-free Database. We are happy with all donations and thank you very much for your help!