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Methods to reduce pain and distress in laboratory animals are commonly referred to as “alternatives”, or the “three Rs” – Reduction, Replacement, Refinement. The Tufts Refinement Initiative is devoted to the third R, or Refinement.

IF researchers and teachers use techniques that enable use of fewer animals, or replace them altogether, fewer animals will suffer.

IF these were reasonably possible, replacement and reduction would be the chosen alternatives.

IF research involving animal subjects is still considered vital to continued advancements in biomedical research and non animal or replacement methods are not widely available, REFINEMENT becomes a vital approach to ensuring animal well-being in the context of scientific progress. Refinements include (but are not limited to) – improved methods of animal handling, prevention or treatment of pain and non-pain causes of distress; improved assessment of pain; and use of humane endpoints.

WE seek valid methods of refinements for animal use in biomedical research and in teaching while maintaining the ability to conduct superior science and teach effectively. We propose to do this by:

  • Identifying primary areas for stimulation of future research, scholarly discussion and public policy analysis.
  • Conducting refinement research of our own and by collaboration with others
  • Sponsoring active outreach in the form of continuing education and dissemination of information to stimulate progress in refinement