The 3Rs are Replacement, Reduction and Refinement

The 3Rs are important methods in laboratory animal research for the Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animal experiments. Researchers are obliged to take the 3Rs into account at the start of an experimental set-up, by using other approaches which do not involve the use of animals, fewer animals, or which entail less painful procedures. The 3Rs have been described for the first time in 1959 by the British duo W.M.S. Russell and R.L. Burch.

Dutch Act on Animal Experimentation (‘Wet op de dierproeven’ in Dutch)
According to the Dutch Act on Animal Experimentation (based on the European Directive 2010/63/EU), no experiments should be conducted on animals, unless there are no other scientific methods available that would produce the required result without using live animals.

The definition of an animal experiment or procedure, as stated by law, is:
 “Any use of an animal for experimentation or other scientific or educational purposes, which may cause the animal a level of pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm, equivalent to the introduction of a needle in accordance with good veterinary practice”. 

More information about legislation and regulations of animal experiments can be found at the Animal Welfare Body of Utrecht University.