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Refinement of Animal Experimentation: Essential to Reduce Animal Suffering and Enhance Scientific Rigor

3rd term
Environmental Health and Engineering
2 credits
Academic Year:
2020 - 2021
Instruction Method:
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Undergrads Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor:
  • Kathrin Herrmann
Kathrin Herrmann

Are you curious about ways to enhance both scientific rigor and the lives of the animals used to produce your research data? Refinement, the last R of the 3Rs Principles, is critical when conducting animal experiments. This course covers the key Refinement methods necessary to carry out research in a scientifically and ethically responsible manner.

Prepares students who work or plan to work with animal subjects in the laboratory. Explores how to comprehensively and adequately apply Refinement methods in practice. Focuses on current housing and husbandry standards and discusses the benefits of a ‘culture of care’ for animals. Examines current best approaches to the important experimental refinements, namely anesthesia, analgesia, pain assessment and management, health monitoring, and humane endpoints and killing methods. To further assess the quality of animal-based research, necessary refinements in planning, conduct, analysis and reporting practices of animal studies are reviewed. Presents potential barriers to the uptake and application of Refinement methods and how they are challenged.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify key factors that can compromise the animal's welfare
  2. Describe potential consequences of poor animal welfare on data obtained from those animals
  3. Describe state-of-the-art Refinement methods
  4. Describe methods to identify and manage pain in animals
  5. Explain how to ensure sufficient planning, conduct, analysis and reporting of animal studies
  6. Explain how to monitor health and well-being of animals during experiments
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 25% Participation
  • 10% Discussion Board
  • 30% Midterm Paper
  • 35% Final Presentation

Instructor Consent:

No consent required