Reduction, Refinement and Replacement

The Babraham Institute is committed to the principles of the ‘3Rs’: Reduction, Refinement and Replacement for animals used during research.

The 3Rs principles were first published in 1959 and have been embedded into UK and international legislature governing the use of animals in research and their humane treatment. These principles provide a framework for continual improvements to the management and welfare of laboratory animals in our animal facility and the adoption of alternative approaches wherever possible.

The Institute uses only purpose-bred rodents for animal research, which are housed in the Biological Support Unit (BSU). The Institute is committed to a programme of advancing our implementation of the 3Rs. The following measures are just a few examples of initiatives that have been developed within the Institute’s animal facilities and laboratories in recent years.


Liquid nitrogen handling


Methods which minimise the number of animals used per experiment

Black mouse being held using cupping technique


Methods which improve animal welfare

Researcher holding up tube containing fruit flies


Methods which avoid or replace the use of animals