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LASA 2015 Meeting

8 October 2015

For some years, UFAW has organised one-day meetings on the welfare of animals used in research with the Laboratory Animal Science Association (LASA).  The 2015 meeting, co-chaired by UFAW’s Chief Executive Dr Robert Hubrecht with LASA Alternatives Section Convenors Patricia Pimlott and Joanna Cruden, was held at the end of September.

Said Dr Hubrecht: “Concern about the welfare of animals in research often tends to focus on the procedures performed on them, but a considerable proportion of the lives of animals used in research occurs off study, and some animals never have procedures performed on them.”

 The meeting gave animal care staff an opportunity to discuss practical issues around the transportation, care and husbandry of a variety of animals at breeding facilities and while kept as stock; as there is abundant evidence that the experiences that animals have in their early life is critical for determining how well they respond later in their lives to stressors such as transport, re-grouping, new environments and people and new handling regimens.

The meeting concluded with a presentation focusing on the fate of animals post-study, and addressed the benefits and issues that need to be considered when rehoming animals after research.


The Three Rs

The subject matter for this year’s meeting was timely as 2015 marks the 60th anniversary of the presentation of a paper by Dr William Russell which contained the essence of the principles that were to become known as the Three Rs - Replacement, Reduction and Refinement.  Dr Russell presented his paper at UFAW’s AGM and said at the time “I believe it (this investigation) is also one of immense promise for the welfare of large numbers of animals and I can only hope that its outcome will be as gratifying to look back on as the other achievements we have heard about tonight.” 

 Two years later, in May 1957, Dr Russell and Mr Rex Burch’s Three Rs principles were first formally put forward at the first ever symposium on Humane Techniques in the Laboratory which was organised by UFAW at Birkbeck College, London.  The Three Rs concept was subsequently adopted as a guiding principle for the welfare of research animals worldwide.  For further information on the Three Rs, see (insert link https://www.ufaw.org.uk/about-ufaw/ufaw-and-animal-welfare