Welcome to the Animal Care Unit The excellence of the animal care and use program has been recognized by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International since 1982 ( http://www.aaalac.org/ ). Once every three years, AAALAC conducts a thorough evaluation of the University of Kansas – Lawrence campus animal care and use program and facilities to ensure ongoing, quality care for all animals used in teaching and research. The University of Kansas is a major public research and teaching university that operates through a diverse, multi-campus system. KU's many parts are bound together by a mission to serve as a "center for learning, research, scholarship, and creative endeavor" in the state of Kansas, the nation, and the world.
Meet the Staff There are also seven full-time and one half-time Animal Science Technicians who provide your animals with quality care on a daily basis. In addition to cleaning, feeding, and watering, these employees monitor the health and well-being of your animals. Any deviations from normal are reported to supervisory staff immediately. Take time to get to know the Animal Science Technician who cares for your animals. Their work is important to the success of your research. When you need clean supplies, your technician will be glad to help you. Feel free to leave them a note on the animal room checksheet clipboard, or better yet, talk with them in person. Animal and supply orders, receptionist, general departmental information and billing information. 4-5587 [email_address] Laura Albin Senior Administrative Assistant Technician supervision, inspects animal facilities to ensure that routine husbandry tasks are being performed according to set standards, backup ordering of animals, facility problems and concerns. 4-8845 [email_address] Allison Rodecap Supervisor of Animal Husbandry Protocol review, training coordinator (orientation, occupational health, on-line handbook and question module) 4-8841 [email_address] Jodi Wente IACUC Coordinator Technical training and observation, orders pharmaceuticals (including controlled drugs) and veterinary supplies, and supervision of animal health 4-8844 [email_address] Jodi Troup Technical Training Officer / Coordinator of Veterinary Services Special husbandry arrangements (housing, feeding, etc.), per diem cost information, assignment of Omnilock codes for access to animal care facilities, and backup ordering of supplies. 4-8842 [email_address] Jenn Brooks Manager of Animal Care Consultation on complex, painful and/or surgical procedures, administrative matters, animal necropsies, IACUC issues, veterinary medical care. 4-8843 [email_address] Dr. James F. Bresnahan, DVM Director, Animal Care Unit Laboratory Animal Medicine Board certified veterinarian To contact about: Phone / e-mail Person / Title
Animal Care Unit Facilities The University of Kansas, Lawrence Campus, has six areas for laboratory animal housing totaling 33,930 square feet. Square footage includes administrative offices, cage washrooms, storerooms, animal rooms, procedure rooms, food preparation, and vet clinic areas. 5,134 Life Sciences Research Laboratory 252 Nelson Environmental Study Area 564 Museum of Natural History 6,544 Higuchi Animal Care Facility 3,284 Haworth Hall 18,152 Malott Hall (Central Facility) Area (square feet) Facility
Ensure compliance with public laws, policies, and recommendations,
Maintain accreditation with the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC),
Provide administrative support to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC),
Provide for the basic needs of each species of animal as required by the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and as stated in the University’s accreditation outline. Care is directed by the University Veterinarian and provided by animal science technicians,
Provide an occupational health and safety training program to protect the health and ensure safety of everyone who will be exposed to animals at the University of Kansas – Lawrence campus,
Monitor animal procurement to ensure animals are purchased only for projects approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee,
Maintain records of IACUC approved activities,
Provide and document research staff training,
Provide training on hazards associated with the use of animals to investigators and research staff as part of the institutional occupational health program involving animals,
Quarantine: Vendor source rodents are quarantined within the animal room where they are to be housed. Their cages are marked with red cage cards and released as study models after 7-days. Non-vendor source transgenic and knockout rodents are isolated for two months at the Life Sciences Research Laboratory or on fourth floor Haworth Hall. Other species are isolated in separate rooms. If the room is vacant, other species may be quarantined in the room where they are to be housed. Reptiles and amphibians are isolated within the animal room where they are to be housed.
Deviations from the 7-day quarantine period must be approved by the University Veterinarian prior to receipt of the animals.
Animal Identification: Cage cards are color coded by Principal Investigator in community rodent rooms. A legend posted on the animal room door identifies the color for each investigator. When animals are in the breeding process, the PI color coded card is behind the female’s breeder card.
Each cage card includes: Principal Investigator name, number of animals, source, sex, strain or stock, and Animal Use Statement number.
Other information such as weight and pertinent dates may be recorded on cage cards. Investigators may choose to use a separate card, inserted behind the identification card, to record procedural information.
Animal Quarantine and Identification
Animal Care Unit Policies and Procedures Entrance Schedule To prevent spread of pathogens, all persons working with animals must follow the entrance schedule. Following the entrance schedule reduces the transmission of disease and parasites from one room to another and from one species to another. Please follow it strictly. All species, except reptiles and amphibians, are maintained in separate rooms. The latter are always housed separately by species and shipment within the room. Most rodents are separated by source as well as by species; however, there are a few rooms that house animals from more than one vendor. Rooms are assigned letters designating an entry schedule in order to group animals according to their health status. Entrance schedules are posted in several locations in each facility. All rodent rooms have a letter designation on the door. Rooms are entered as follows: (first to last) A = Free of bacterial and viral pathogens, Mycoplasma, and endo and ectoparasites. B = Free of bacterial and viral pathogens, Mycoplasma. Positive for pinworms. C = Free of viral pathogens, Mycoplasma. Positive for Helicobacter species D = Positive or potentially positive for endo and ectoparasites, viral, bacterial, or other pathogens. This category may include incoming non-vendor source animals. Rodent rooms are entered according to the list above. For example, all rodent rooms in group A are entered before any rooms in group B, C or D. If a rodent room in group D is entered, then no other rodent room can be entered. The animals that do not pertain to this schedule are dogs, rabbits, pigs, amphibians or reptiles. These animal rooms are entered after laboratory rodents. When the need arises, some areas are designated as rodent isolation areas. These are marked: “Rodent isolation area. Enter this area after other rodents and before dogs, pigs or rabbits.”
The Animal Welfare Act requires that research facilities provide guidance in methods whereby deficiencies in animal care and treatment are reported. No one shall be discriminated against or be subject to any reprisal for reporting suspected violations of any regulation or standards under the Act. The University Ombudsman serves as the initial contact for persons desiring to lodge confidential complaints regarding animal welfare at the University of Kansas – Lawrence campus. The Ombudsman will obtain information relevant to the complaint and forward it to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) chairperson. The University Ombudsman 864-7261. If a complaint is an allegation of scientific misconduct, the University Ombudsman will direct the complaint to the Associate Vice Provost for Research. In that instance, the Guidelines for Dealing with Allegations of Scientific/Scholarly Misconduct will be followed. Upon receipt of a complaint, the IACUC chairperson will appoint a committee to investigate alleged violations, notify proper personnel and forward final reports of investigations to the University Ombudsman. Emergency telephone numbers are posted in all Animal Care Unit maintained facilities and in Principal Investigator labs where animals are housed or used. At the bottom of these signs, it reads: “If you wish to report any concern involving the welfare of laboratory animals in this facility, please contact the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee through the University Ombudsman, 864-7261, 28 Carruth O’Leary. All inquiries will be kept confidential.” Animal Care and Use Concerns
Prepare and submit Animal Use Statements to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) for review,
Use appropriate anesthetic, analgesic and tranquilizing drugs to minimize pain or distress to animals,
Use humane euthanasia methods as defined in the 2007 AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia:. http://www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/euthanasia.pdf
Prior to initiating changes to approved procedures, a revision to an Animal Use Statement must be submitted to the IACUC for review/approval. This would include changes in species / strain to be used, dosing volume, dosing route, dosing frequency, vehicles, euthanasia methods, anesthetic protocols, study compounds to be administered, etc. Details about the IACUC approved policy for Significant vs. Insignificant revisions can be found at: http://www2.ku.edu/~acu/iacuc.shtml ,
An insignificant revision is a change that is unlikely to be a cost to the animal or may decrease the potential for pain/distress. An insignificant revision can be reviewed/approved by the attending veterinarian on the IACUC or the committee Chair.
Significant revisions must be reviewed at a convened meeting of the IACUC.
Use the Animal Welfare Information Center of the National Agricultural Library and other sources to improve experimental methodology and to prevent unnecessary duplication of animal experimentation.
Responsibilities of Principal Investigators Project Management
Mandatory Training Requirements: Everyone who participates in an IACUC approved activity must complete the following training PRIOR to initiating hands-on animal work:
Orientation – Part 1: Introductions to Animal Care Unit Management staff / Occupational Health Hazard Presentation, Tour of the Malott Animal Facility
Orientation – Part 2: Completion of the on-line Animal Care Unit Orientation Handbook and Question Module.
Participation in the animal care and use occupational health program.
Hands-on Training: The hands-on training requirement can be initiated after the training requirements listed above have been completed. New participants must be added to an Animal Use Statement before hands-on training can be scheduled. An e-mail notification is sent to the Principal Investigator and participant when the “Add New Personnel” process has been completed.
Hands-on training is usually coordinated through the Technical Training Officer/Coordinator of Veterinary Services. The University Veterinarian may also provide hands-on training when highly technical or novel techniques will be initiated.
Training by a lab colleague does NOT constitute completion of the Technical Training requirement.
Working with animals prior to completing animal care and use training may jeopardize the continuance of a Principal Investigator’s research. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee can suspended an Animal Use Statement if training has not been completed.
Responsibilities of Principal Investigators Animal Care Personnel Training
All bite wounds should receive immediate first-aid treatment. The wound should be cleaned thoroughly with an appropriate antiseptic soap, or Betadine solution, and rinsed with water. The patient shall report immediately to his or her supervisor and complete an accident report form. Animal Care Unit staff should be informed about problem animals (i.e.: chronic biters).
A dog or cat which inflicts a bite wound on a human will be observed for 10-days for symptoms of rabies or other zoonotic diseases.
Protection and prevention measures are essential to ensure the health and safety of animal care and use personnel.
Only authorized personnel shall enter facilities where animals are housed or used. Participation in the occupational health program is required.
Street clothing shall be replaced or covered with protective clothing before entering animal rooms.
The following protective items shall be worn where indicated: Surgical gloves, long-sleeved garments, goggles, hearing protection, leather gloves, rubber boots and lab coats.
Personnel shall not eat or drink in an animal holding or animal procedure room. Smoking is prohibited in all buildings on campus.
Research and teaching activities involving hazardous materials or infectious agents must be managed by professional staff qualified to assess associated dangers and select appropriate safeguards.
All participants in IACUC approved procedures must review lab safety information. This can be found at the Environment, Health and Safety website: http://www.ehs.ku.edu/files/Training/AnimalCare/aculabsafetyorientation0817051.htm
Responsibilities of Principal Investigators Animal Care Personnel Safety
Common Rodent Stocks and Strains : Animal orders must be placed with the ACU Administrative Associate before noon on Thursday for delivery the following week. An on-line animal order form is located at: http://www2.ku.edu/~acu/orderform.shtml .
Rare Rodent Strains, Time Pregnant Rodents or Other Species : Consult with the Animal Care Unit well in advance regarding procurement of these animals.
Non-vendor Rodent Stocks and Strains : Procurement of non-vendor animals is coordinated through the Technical Training Officer / Coordinator of Veterinary Services (TTO/CVS). The following steps must be completed prior to placing an order for non-vendor animals:
Material Transfer Agreement: Contact KU Center for Research, Inc. prior to placing an order for non-vendor rodent stocks and strains to determine if a Material Transfer Agreement is needed.
Health Status Report: The supplier must provide the University Veterinarian with a health status report. The University Veterinarian must approve the transfer of animals, based on the health of the animal colony, prior to an order being placed.
The University of Kansas – Lawrence campus will not accept stray animals or donations of animals. Laboratory animals are purchased from USDA licensed dealers or approved sources.
Shipment or transfer of animals from the University of Kansas – Lawrence campus to another institution must be coordinated with the TTO/CVS.
Responsibilities of Principal Investigators Animal Procurement and Transfer to Other Institutions
Contact the Technical Training Officer / Coordinator of Veterinary Services (TTO/CVS) when an animal requires medical attention. An Animal Report form (ARF) must also be completed. This form is available on-line at: http://www2.ku.edu/~acu/arf.shtml . ARFs are also available in all Animal Care Unit maintained facilities (i.e.: yellow form).
In an emergency, contact the University Veterinarian or the TTO/CVS immediately. Emergency phone numbers are posted in all Animal Care Unit maintained facilities and in Principal Investigator labs. The Animal Care Unit departmental phone number is 864-5587.
Health problems are checked the same day they are reported. Every effort is made to contact the researcher to coordinate treatments with research activities.
The Animal Care Unit can euthanize animals to eliminate suffering without permission of the Principal Investigator if the University Veterinarian deems that this is appropriate.
Responsibilities of Principal Investigators Animal Health Concerns
To prevent spread of pathogens, all persons working with animals must follow the entrance schedule. Following the entrance schedule reduces the transmission of disease and parasites from one room to another and from one species to another. Please follow it strictly. Entrance Schedule Entrance schedules are posted in several locations in each facility. All rodent rooms have a letter designation on the door. Rooms are entered as follows: (first to last) A = Free of bacterial and viral pathogens, Mycoplasma, and endo and ectoparasites. B = Free of bacterial and viral pathogens, Mycoplasma. Positive for pinworms. C = Free of viral pathogens, Mycoplasma. Positive for Helicobacter species D = Positive or potentially positive for endo and ectoparasites, viral, bacterial, or other pathogens. This category may include incoming non-vendor source animals. Rodent rooms are entered according to the list above. For example, all rodent rooms in group A are entered before any rooms in group B, C or D. If a rodent room in group D is entered, then no other rodent room can be entered. The animals that do not pertain to this schedule are dogs, rabbits, pigs, amphibians or reptiles. These animal rooms are entered after laboratory rodents. Responsibilities of Principal Investigators
Cage cards are color coded by Principal Investigator (PI) in community rodent rooms. A legend posted on the animal door identifies each PI’s color. It is important that research staff understand and follow the color coding system. This eliminates the potential for using another Principal Investigator’s animals.
When animals are in the breeding process, the PI color card is behind the female’s breeder card.
Investigators may choose to use a separate card, inserted behind the PI color card, to record procedural information.
If an animal cage is left empty while an experiment is being conducted, one of two procedures should be followed:
If the animal will be returned to the cage, the cage card should be left in place.
If the experiment is terminal and the animal(s) will not be returned to the cage, the cage card should be removed or placed inside the cage. This will indicate to the Animal Science Technician that the cage is no longer needed.
When multiple animals are housed in a cage and one is used for a terminal procedure, research staff must update the number of animals recorded on the cage card (i.e.: Change from 3 to 2).
Care must be taken to return water bottles or sipper tubes to cages after animals are returned to the animal room. When working in animal rooms after hours, the lights must be returned to the auto setting when you leave.
Responsibilities of Principal Investigators Animal Identification and Use
Public areas are sometimes used for transport of animals between animal care areas and Principal Investigator laboratories. Cage covers must be used when animals are transported through public areas. The Animal Care Unit provides pillowcases for this purpose.
Transporting Animals between the KU-Lawrence campus and the KU Medical Center:
Transportation of animals is by Animal Care Unit (Lawrence) or Division of Laboratory Animal Resources (KUMC) climate controlled vehicles in filtered cages or containers.
When animals are transferred from one facility to another, whether to a laboratory or housing facility, the transfer must be indicated on the protocol of both campuses. Prior to transferring animals, and after approval by both IACUCs, the Principal Investigator must submit the appropriate transfer forms, health status reports and details of the transfer to the attending veterinarians at both campuses.
No unanticipated transfer of animals from one campus to the other not previously addressed in an IACUC approved protocol will be performed. Requests for transfer of animals not previously approved will require a revision of the applicable protocol and approval by both IACUCs. Failure to follow this protocol will result in a reportable incident.
Transporting animals across campus is completed by ACU staff in temperature-controlled vehicles. Transportation requests can be made online using the Transportation Request form at http://www2.ku.edu/~acu/transport.shtml or by contacting Jennifer Brooks at 4-8842 or [email_address] .
Responsibilities of Principal Investigators Transporting Animals
To reserve an Animal Care Unit procedure room, complete the sign-up sheet posted outside of the procedure room door,
Research staff is responsible for restoring the procedure room to its original condition following use,
Sharps boxes are provided for proper disposal of needles, syringes, scalpels, etc. Do not use trash cans to dispose of these items. DO NOT RECAP NEEDLES WHEN WORKING IN ANIMAL CARE UNIT FACILITIES.
Some items are provided by the Animal Care Unit (i.e.: paper towels, disinfectant, cotton balls, etc.). Additional supplies can be obtained from, or ordered by, the Technical Training Officer / Coordinator of Veterinary Services (TTO/CVS). Ordering one week in advance will help to ensure availability of supplies when needed. Principal Investigators are charged for additional supplies on a cost recovery basis.
Surgery Suite (Malott Hall): The surgery area can be reserved by contacting the TTO/CVS.
Autoclaves: There are two autoclaves located in the Malott facility. Research staff must be trained by the TTO/CVS before using this equipment.
Necropsy (Malott Hall): A down-draft exhaust necropsy table is available for use. Contact the TTO/CVS to reserve this room.
Responsibilities of Principal Investigators Using Animal Care Facilities and Acquisition of Lab Supplies
Responsibilities of Principal Investigators Final Disposition of Animals
Research staff can euthanize animals following the method approved in the Animal Use Statement,
The Animal Care Unit staff will euthanize animals when "CULL" is written on cage cards. Please be aware that all animals in a cage marked “CULL” will be euthanized.
An on-line cull form is located at: http://www2.ku.edu/~acu/cull.shtml .
Contact the University Veterinarian to request diagnostic services (i.e.: histology, necropsy).
Animals can be transferred to another Principal Investigator who has an IACUC approved Animal Use Statement. Principal Investigators can request a transfer by completing the on-line Animal Transfers form located at: http://www2.ku.edu/~acu/transferform.shtml .
Animals that have had no surgical or chemical intervention may be of use to another investigator. These animals may be placed at the discretion of the Animal Care Unit.
Adoption: For those few animals that would be suitable pets, adoption is an alternative. Only those animals not subjected to treatments with hazardous chemical, biological, or radiologic agents will be eligible for adoption. Each time an animal is to be adopted out,
The Principal Investigator must provide authorization in writing before adoption procedures are initiated.
The University Veterinarian must examine the animal to certify that it is in good health.
An Adoption of Laboratory Research Animal Release and Waiver Form must be completed. http://www2.ku.edu/~acu/forms/pdf/adopt98.pdf .
At least five investigators representing departments that use animals (with no more than two from a single department),
The University Veterinarian (Animal Care Unit Director),
A member from a nonscientific discipline,
An Animal Care Unit representative,
At least one community member not otherwise associated with the institution,
A non-voting administrative representative, and
At least one graduate student who uses animals.
The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is an administrative committee required by law. The committee oversees and approves all research and teaching performed with live animals at the University of Kansas – Lawrence campus. The IACUC meets once each month to review protocols and institutional policies. The Associate Vice Provost for Research and Vice President, KU Center for Research, Inc., serves as the Institutional Official (IO). The IO is responsible for appointing the IACUC and has ultimate authority over the animal care and use program. Membership of the IACUC complies with Public Health Service requirements and includes the following:
The use of animals in teaching and research at the University of Kansas – Lawrence campus complies with the following public laws, policies, and guidelines:
Regulating Agency Laws, Policies and Guidelines The Animal Welfare Act The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) requires that minimum standards of care and treatment be provided for most warm-blooded animals bred for commercial sale, used in research, transported commercially, or exhibited to the public. This includes animals exhibited in zoos, circuses, and marine mammal facilities as well as pets transported on commercial airlines. The AWA also prohibits staged dogfights, bear and raccoon baiting, and similar animal fighting ventures. The law was first passed in 1966 and amended in 1970, 1976, 1985, and 1990. In enforcing the AWA, the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Animal Care (AC) conducts randomly scheduled, unannounced inspections to ensure that all regulated facilities comply with the law. If an inspection reveals deficiencies in meeting the AWA standards and regulations, the inspector instructs the facility to correct the problems within a given timeframe. If deficiencies remain uncorrected at the follow up inspection, AC documents the facility's deficiencies and considers possible legal action. Such action could include fines and/or license suspensions or revocations.
The Animal Welfare Act includes specific requirements for:
assurance that pain and distress are minimized
strengthened veterinary care programs
exercise of dogs
improved programs for promoting the psychological well-being of primates
and the formation of Institutional Animal Care and Use committees (IACUC) with broad responsibilities.
Regulating Agency Laws, Policies and Guidelines The Animal Welfare Act Institutions also must maintain records of animal program inspections and IACUC review of animal use proposals.
Regulating Agency Laws, Policies and Guidelines Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare - Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals The Public Health Service (PHS), particularly the National Institutes of Health, has also reacted to public pressure regarding the care and use of animals in research. First, in 1972, they sponsored the writing of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals which outlines criteria for optimum animal care. This guide is used as a standard reference by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC International) and on some subjects by the USDA. The Guide can be found at: http:// books.nap.edu/readingroom/books/labrats / The University of Kansas – Lawrence campus has a PHS approved Assurance statement. Assurances are evaluated by the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health. The adequacy of the institution’s program for the care and use of animals in PHS-conducted or supported activities is evaluated. On the basis of this evaluation OLAW may approve or disapprove an Assurance. Approval of an Assurance is for a specific period of time (no longer than five years) after which time the institution must submit a new Assurance to OLAW. At the beginning of each calendar year, an annual report is submitted to OLAW. When applicable, changes to the program, as described in the Assurance statement, are reported. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee conducts evaluations of the Institution’s program and inspects the Institution’s facilities on a semiannual basis. Reports of these evaluations and inspections are submitted to the Institutional Official as they occur and to OLAW with the annual report. If significant and/or minor deficiencies are identified, a plan and schedule for correction is included in the reports. No activity involving animals may be conducted or supported by the PHS without an Assurance that documents compliance with this Policy. Without an applicable PHS-approved Assurance no PHS-conducted or supported activity involving animals at the institution is permitted to continue.
Regulating Agency Laws, Policies and Guidelines Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare - Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals
The PHS Policy includes specific requirements for:
Transportation, care and use of animals in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act and other applicable Federal laws, guidelines and policies,
Procedures involving animals must be designed and performed with due consideration of their relevance to human or animal health, the advancement of knowledge, or the good of society,
The animals selected for a procedure must be of an appropriate species and quality and only the minimum number required to obtain valid results should be used,
Avoidance and/or minimization of discomfort, distress and pain is imperative. Procedures that cause pain or distress in human beings may cause pain or distress in other animals,
Procedures that cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress must be performed with appropriate sedation, analgesia or anesthesia. Animals that would otherwise suffer severe or chronic pain or distress that cannot be relieved must be painlessly euthanized at the conclusion of an experimental procedure. Or, if appropriate, during the procedure.
The living conditions of animals should be appropriate for their species and contribute to their health and comfort. Veterinary care must be provided.
All Principal Investigators and other personnel must be appropriately qualified and experienced for conducting procedures on living animals. Adequate training must be provided; including proper and humane care and use of laboratory animals.
Regulating Agency Laws, Policies and Guidelines
Additional resources used as part of the animal care and use program at the University of Kansas – Lawrence, campus: The Secretary of Agriculture has been given the responsibility of establishing a laboratory animal information service at the National Agricultural Library (NAL). Information available from the Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC) of the NAL includes Quick Bibliographies on general subject areas and Search Tips Series on specific humane procedures topics. Services provided include information to:
Aid employee training;
Avoid unintended duplication of animal experimentation
Improve methods which could reduce or replace animal use and minimize pain and distress in animals.
Regulating Agency Laws, Policies and Guidelines The 3 R’s - Reduction, Replacement, Refinement It is the stated aim of all medical researchers to use as few animals and as responsibly as possible. Ultimately it would be ideal if the use of animals could be totally replaced by non-clinical methods. Unfortunately few of these currently exist and where they do they are often not yet fully accepted by the world's regulatory authorities. This means that the use of animals will continue for some time to come. However, the search for alternatives continues and is guided by the principle of the 3 R's. This stands for: R eplacement R eduction R efinement Replacement - In recent years there have been advances in non-animal techniques. These include computer modeling, cell cultures and in vitro (literally in glass - test tube) techniques. In some cases these techniques, can replace some of the existing animal tests but it will be many years before all animal tests will be made redundant by non-animal techniques. Reduction - Quite simply this means that fewer animals are being used in many areas of medical research. Scientists are now able to be more confident in the results that they have achieved. This confidence means that fewer animals are required to be sure that the results are valid. Refinement - This concerns the manner in which the animals are treated. Refinements are methods that alleviate or minimize potential pain and distress and enhance animal well-being. Potential pain and distress can be avoided or alleviated with proper use of anesthetics, analgesics and tranquilizers. The principle of Refinement ensures that if an animal is involved in scientific research, it is treated with care and respect and suffers as little as possible. It is a common misconception that animals are used because they offer a 'cheap alternative' to non-animal techniques. The reverse is in fact true.