3Rs-Centre Utrecht Life Sciences contributes to refinement of zebrafish experiments


Utrecht, 11 April 2017 – The 3Rs-Centre Utrecht Life Sciences has published information on zebrafish, that could contribute to the refinement of experiments with these animals. It helps researchers that work with zebrafish in the laboratory to prevent unnecessary pain and distress in these animals. The information is freely accessible on the Humane Endpoints website.

The Humane Endpoints (HE) website helps to recognize humane endpoints in laboratory animals. A humane endpoint is the earliest indicator in an animal experiment of pain or distress in the animal. Researchers can use these indicators to avoid or limit pain and distress in laboratory animals. The website contributes to refinement, since it teaches scientists, animal-technicians and animal caretakers how to prevent unnecessary pain and distress in laboratory animals.

Zebrafish in the laboratory

In addition to the currently available information on rats and mice, the HE website now includes information on zebrafish. Zebrafish are commonly used as laboratory animals worldwide. In the Netherlands, on average 5000 experiments are performed on zebrafish each year. The HE website is already successfully used in several laboratory animal science courses worldwide. It has 1200 unique visitors a month and over 1400 registered users for the secured section of the website. The new zebrafish module is currently available in English, Dutch and German. Later on, the module will also be available in French, Spanish and Chinese. The expansion of the website with information on humane endpoints in zebrafish is made possible by sponsoring partner ZonMw, the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development. 

3Rs Database programme

The HE website is, together with the Interspecies Database, part of the 3Rs database programme of the 3Rs-Centre Utrecht Life Sciences (ULS). This programme makes 3Rs information freely available and aims to contribute to the implementation of the 3Rs in animal research. The HE website does not receive any subsidies and its future relies on donations and gifts. Therefore, any donations to help us keeping the website freely available are welcome. The 3Rs-Centre ULS is part of the faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University. More information on the 3Rs-Centre ULS can be found here.