11 February – a milestone in animal welfare

11 February 2019

Dr William Russell presented a paper entitled A research on the history and progress of humane experimental techniques on this day at the UFAW Annual General Meeting in 1955.  This paper, published in UFAW’s technical news-sheet the UFAW Courier, contained the essence of the principles that were to become known as the Three Rs – Replacement, Reduction and Refinement and which have proved astonishingly successful in improving the welfare of animals used in research.  Dr Russell concluded: “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.”

UFAW had previously stated that it wanted to see laboratory techniques become more humane for the animals concerned and had made contact with Dr Russell, an Oxford zoologist and Greek scholar, who agreed to undertake a programme of research into this subject.  Dr Russell was appointed as a UFAW Research Fellow in October 1954, and with his assistant Rex Burch developed the Three Rs. 

For further info see (Link to https://www.ufaw.org.uk/why-ufaws-work-is-important/welfare-of-animals-used-in-scientific-testing-and-research).