Hubrecht, R. C., Carter, E. 2019. The 3Rs and humane experimental technique: Implementing change. Animals 9(10), 754.
In 1959, the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) Scholars Russell & Burch published the Principles of Humane Experimental Technique in which they laid out the principles of the Three Rs. However, the Three Rs owed much to others. It was UFAW and, in particular, UFAW’s Founder and Director, Major Charles Hume who identified the problem that needed to be tackled, and who developed the non-confrontational approach that was needed to both formulate the questions that needed answers and to obtain the answers from the research community. Russell & Burch’s work was also guided by an expert scientific and technical committee chaired by the Nobel Prize winner Sir Peter Medawar. This essay describes the history of the Three Rs using publications by the protagonists and others as well as material from UFAW’s archives. It describes the background to the employment of Russell & Burch, the methodology of Russell & Burch’s approach and the impact of their work up to the present day—where the Three Rs are incorporated in legislation throughout the world.