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University Biomedical Services (UBS)


Refinement applies to all aspects of animal use to minimise the pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm to animals in research.  Examples of refinement include housing and husbandry care to the scientific procedures performed on animals. The use of appropriate anaesthetics and analgesics, and avoiding stress by training animals using habituation and acclimatisation techniques. This enables them to cooperate with procedures such as blood sampling, and providing animals with appropriate housing that allows the expression of natural species-specific behaviours, such as nesting, climbing and foraging.

The papers and links below are just a few available which will enable the reader to make a valid judgement on refinement of research using animals.

Microsampling NC3Rs Advances in bioanalytical techniques have opened up the potential to use smaller sample volumes (microsamples) to assess drug and chemical exposure in blood, plasma and/or serum.

Training animals  Positive reinforcement training methods which reward desired behaviour, have become a valuable tool for the humane care and use of laboratory animals. NC3Rs

Handling and restraint  Laboratory animals are inevitably subjected to human contact throughout their lives, during both husbandry and experiments.  The use of appropriate and skilled handling is essential to ensure that animals readily accept or actively seek human contact and procedures are carried out efficiently. NC3Rs


A Good Practice Guide to the Administration of Substances and Removal of Blood, including Routes and Volumes. European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries Association and the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods. Contains information on administration volumes considered good practice for the mouse, rat, rabbit, dog, marmoset and mini-pig, animal welfare issues with different routes, repeated intravenous infusions and vehicles for administration. 


Procedures with Care This website provides information to assist research workers to develop skills in the administration of substances to laboratory animals and use of aseptic techniques.


Anaesthesia Paul Flecknell University of Newcastle. This eModule provides an introduction to laboratory animal anaesthesia, to the level required to meet the learning objectives in EU Module 20.


Refining procedures for the administration of substances Morton, D. B.; Jennings, M.; Buckwell, A.; Ewbank, R.; Godfrey, C. Holgate, B.; Inglis, I.; James, R.; Page, C.; Sharman, I.; Verschoyle, R; Westall, L.; Wilson, A. B.


Chronic Implants Wiki

The NC3Rs has launched a wiki style resource for Neuroscience staff (Researchers, Scientists, Vets and Animal care staff) to share information after registration, this site is an interactive resource for the neuroscience community with an aim to improving animal welfare and scientific outcomes for refinement of the use of chronic implants in neuroscience research using Non-human Primates

Tamoxifen Workshop

Collaborative group discussions were held around how Tamoxifen is currently being delivered, the ways in which it affects the animals and how it impacts the science. Main routes of delivery were discussed and refinements that might be made.