The guiding ethical principles for the use, care and treatment of animals are:

  • That the ethical use of animals in science is acceptable only if it promises to contribute to the understanding of environmental principles or issues; fundamental biological principles; or development of knowledge that can reasonably be expected to benefit humans, animals or the environment; 
  • That optimal standards for animal health and care result in enhanced credibility and reproducibility of experimental results; 
  • That acceptance of animal use in science critically depends on maintaining public confidence in the mechanisms and processes used to ensure necessary, humane and justified animal use; 
  • That animals should be used only if the researcher's best efforts to find an alternative have failed.  A continuing sharing of knowledge, review of the literature, and adherence to the Russell-Burch "three R" tenet of "Replacement, Reduction and Refinement" are also requisites.  Those using animals should employ the most humane methods on the smallest number of appropriate animals required to obtain valid information. ​The Three Rs microsite contains other useful tools such as:

The Animal Index- a grouping Three Rs resources by category and/or species to assist in finding resources specific to certain types of animals; and

Care & Techniques– Information about refinements to animal care and animal-based scientific techniques