Welcome to the world of animal research. Large numbers of students gain an understanding of living processes when they engage in inquiry-based, project-oriented studies involving biological experimentation with animals. These studies will lead you to respect all living things. Much valuable learning will occur as you study the laws, regulations, and procedures that govern experimental research involving animals.
We encourage student investigations of biological processes, while reminding you that these are subject to the same laws, ethics, and regulations as any other research.
All aspects of your project involving biological experimentation with animals must be within your ability and comprehension to undertake it in an ethical nd responsible manner.
If your project involves Vertebrate Animals or Cephalopods, you must submit a Research Plan before you start your research. This plan must be reviewed by at least one person knowledgeable about ethics, preferably a member of the RSF Ethics Committee.. In a complex project, the research plan may also be submitted to the Youth Science Canada National Ethics Committee. Here we describe the topics that must be addressed in your Research Plan.
- Student Researchers and Advisors. List the names, contact information, and affiliation of the student researchers, the Adult Supervisor and the Scientific Supervisor.
- Purpose The purpose describes the reason for conducting the project, and briefly outlines literature that has shaped the project proposal. The general procedure to be used in the research is outlined.
- Give both the scientific and popular name of the animal(s) that will be used in your study.
- How many animals will be used?
- What observations and/or measurements will be done on the animals?
- The Three R’s: Replacement, Reduction and Refinement. Explain how you have used these principles in the design of your research protocol.
- Risks What Are the Potential Risks? A complete and clear description of all known or anticipated risks must be given.
- What are the Potential Benefits? All studies must have some benefit in order to justify their conduct. Thus, a description of known and/or potential benefits to the animals and/or society is required.
Replacement Reduction Refinement
In 1954, William Russell, a brilliant young zoologist who happened to be also a psychologist and a classical scholar, and Rex Burch, a microbiologist, inaugurated a systematic study of laboratory techniques in their ethical aspect. This led to publication in 1959 of The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique in which they classified humane techniques under the headings of Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement - now commonly known as the three Rs.
In some ways this elegant classification was 25 years ahead of its time. Nowadays the three R's are widely used by all responsible scientists and one hardly ever reads or hears a discussion on laboratory animal welfare which does not refer to them.
Reduction is a concept that covers any strategy that will result in less animals being used to obtain the same amount of information, or in maximizing the information obtained per animal and thus limiting or avoiding the subsequent use of additional animals.
Refinement signifies the modification of any procedures that operate from the time a laboratory animal is born until its death, so as to minimize the pain and distress experienced by the animal, and to enhance its well-being.
Replacement refer to any experimental system which does not entail the use of a whole, living animal.
Select the items in the menu bar for full details of how to use animals in a responsible, ethical and legal way in your project.