Reduction, refinement and replacement of animal testing

The University of Exeter promotes the principles of the 3Rs – reduction, refinement and replacement of animal models. Where the use of animals is unavoidable, appropriate steps are taken to minimise their discomfort.

The University is committed to ensuring all those involved in animal-based research (scientists, veterinary surgeons and animal technicians) are pro-active in pursuing the replacement, reduction and refinement of animal use (the 3Rs), engage fully in the ethical review process, and fulfil their moral and legal responsibilities for the care and welfare of animals.


We are committed to ensuring animals are used only when there is no alternative by:
•    Requiring applicants for project licences (licences issued by the Home Office authorising the use of animals in a programme of research) to demonstrate that they have given full consideration to non-animal methods and have consulted the information on alternatives available on the web.
•    Promoting awareness of non-animal methods through its teaching and seminar programmes. And
•    Engaging with outside experts on the replacement of animals in scientific research, to exchange views and explore new ideas.


We are committed to ensuring that researchers use the minimum number of animals needed to meet their scientific objectives by:
•    Reviewing regularly the numbers of animals used under individual project licences and asking for reductions, where appropriate.
•    Providing researchers with professional statistical advice on the design and analysis of their experiments. And
•    Managing breeding programmes carefully, so as to avoid or minimise surplus animals.


We are committed to achieving the highest possible standards of animal care and welfare and to ensuring that all those involved in the use of animals practise a culture of care by:
•    Requiring researchers to apply the most refined methods in their work at all times and to keep pace with new developments.
•    Providing the best possible standards of care and accommodation that, wherever possible, exceed the standards prescribed under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
•    Promoting awareness of best practice through education and training.