The 3R principle (Replace, Reduce and Refine) describes interventions for replacing animal experiments by alternative methods, for reducing the numbers of animals and for refining animal experiments in order to reduce animal suffering. It has been published in 1959 by Russel and Burch in their book „The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique“.

The EU directive 2010/63/EU for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes promoted the recognition of the 3R-principle in the scientific community and the development and validation of alternative methods, especially in the field of toxicology. Yet, and specifically for basic research, where most animals are used, there is still a great demand for a better implementation of the 3R principle in daily lab routines. Therefore education of especially young scientists in the field of 3R is required, as well as a rethinking of common processes, a change of mindset and innovations for realizing their implementation.