Williams, W. O., Baneux, P. 2022. Humane Intervention Points: Refining endpoint terminology to incorporate non-euthanasia intervention options to improve animal welfare and preserve experimental outcomes. Laboratory Animals 56(5), 482-489.
Consideration of The Three R’s (Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement) is essential when setting Humane Endpoints; however, a common interpretation assumes that Humane Endpoints are timepoints to perform euthanasia. This interpretation is not always consistent with the three Rs. There are many available intervention options that – when used to respond to pain, discomfort, or distress – facilitate application of the three Rs while achieving experimental goals. At our institution, the term ‘Humane Endpoints’ was replaced with ‘Humane Intervention Points’, to ensure responses beyond euthanasia are given priority by laboratory animal professionals and researchers. Identification of Humane Intervention Points in the research protocol provides us with a more accurate reflection of the measures used to alleviate pain and distress in animals used for research, testing, and teaching – an outcome easily envisioned elsewhere.