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A future without animal research? Can / should we be more open / realistic, or will the 3Rs triumph?

RSPCA has ultimate goal of replacement, so why don’t research establishments? – Actually, they do, as both the Directive and ASPA presume against animal use.

If the future intention of replacement is set out without a pathway, is that raising expectations too high? An aspiration to replace or avoid animal use could be OK, as this would act as a driver. Note that the desire to replace animals is NOT saying that research per se isn’t important; it’s about seeking to replace the ANIMAL use – this is a good goal for a humane society.

The potential to replace actually depends on the research field. Hardest in basic biology research to understand physiology.

The recitals to Directive 2010/63/EU set context for presumption against animal use, which could help to justify topline statements.

How many establishments have a top level stated aim in relation to animal use? Many have statements about transparency, implementing 3Rs, Culture of Care etc. but these can just be lip service; they should explain what they mean and what the facility is doing. Should have stated aims and make these clear; not just copy and paste! Include how they feel, local values, what the AWERB wants to say.

What cultural values could establishments publicly state? Would have to be a collective effort so that everyone has bought into and was happy with it; research governance would need to be involved if appropriate. Someone would need to drive it but not sure whom; a good ELH would be able to but these vary in levels of involvement.

Also the 3Rs is one thing, but a stated commitment to total replacement could put researchers off? Also 3Rs does not include fundamental ethical challenge to necessity and justification. E.g. a commitment to reviewing all possible solutions to a problem; epidemiological, human behaviour change, social policy etc. Or at least have a forum where these issues can be discussed.

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