The concept of reduction covers any strategy that will result in fewer animals being used to obtain the same amount of information. By maximising the information obtained per animal it is possible to limit or avoid subsequent use of additional animals. There are several possible approaches:
Conducting experiments on tissues from humanely killed animals
Some laboratories alert all their researchers when animals are going to be killed. For example, if one researcher intends to carry out a study on perfused livers, other researchers may be able to make use of the kidneys, brain tissue, serum or other components of the same animals.
Appropriate experimental design and appropriate analysis of the resulting data, with due consideration to statistical principles, can increase the precision of the data and at the same time enable fewer animals to be used for the generation of these data.
The FRAME Reduction Steering Committee (FRSC) has produced a strategic planning chart to help researchers design more effective experiments that maximise data and minimise animal use.
Click here for a copy
More details here
Choice of species
The choice of species and strain may influence the numbers of animals that are required. Different strains and species may be more or less sensitive in their reactions to the experimental procedures and this may influence the quality of the data and the ease of distinguishing effects of the procedures. Also, the use of pure inbred strains may result in less variability than seen in the outbred type.
The research strategy used
Overall research strategy may also contribute to a reduction in animal use. A small pilot study in a just a few animals can indicate if further work would be appropriate. In some cases, it may be possible to use an in vitro system to obtain preliminary data which could provide hints about the validity of the hypothesis, or indicate ways in which the main study might be modified to use fewer animals, earlier endpoints and/or less-invasive procedures.
More information on reduction can be found by going to the external links or papers listed in the submenu to this page or by searching the paper database.