60 Years of the 3Rs symposium: Lessons learned and the road ahead

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Michael Balls, Rolf Bass, Rodger Curren, Julia Fentem, Alan Goldberg, Thomas Hartung , Kathrin Herrmann, Nicole C. Kleinstreuer, Lisa Libowitz, John Parascandola, Andrew Rowan, Horst Spielmann, Martin L. Stephens, Russell S. Thomas, Katya Tsaioun
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When The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique was published in 1959, authors William Russell and Rex Burch had a modest goal: to make researchers think about what they were doing in the laboratory – and to do it more humanely. Sixty years later, their groundbreaking book was celebrated for inspiring a revolution in science and launching a new field: The 3Rs of alternatives to animal experimentation. On November 22, 2019, some pioneering and leading scientists and researchers in the field gathered at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Bal­timore for the 60 Years of the 3Rs Symposium: Lessons Learned and the Road Ahead. The event was sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), the Foundation for Chemistry Research and Initiatives, the Alternative Research & Development Foundation (ARDF), the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), the International Fragrance Association (IFRA), the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), John “Jack” R. Fowle III, and the Society of Toxicology (SoT). Fourteen pres­entations shared the history behind the groundbreaking publication, international efforts to achieve its aims, stumbling blocks to progress, as well as remarkable achievements. The day was a tribute to Russell and Burch, and a testament to what is possible when people from many walks of life – science, government, and industry – work toward a common goal.

Plain language summary
William Russell and Rex Burch published their book The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique in 1959. The book encouraged researchers to replace animal experiments where it was possible, to refine experiments with animals in order to reduce their suffering, and to reduce the number of animals that had to be used for experiments to the minimum. Sixty years later, a group of pioneering and leading scientists and researchers in the field gathered to share how the publi­cation came about and how the vision inspired international collaborations and successes on many different levels including new laws. The paper includes an overview of important milestones in the history of alternatives to animal experimentation.

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How to Cite
Balls, M. (2024) “60 Years of the 3Rs symposium: Lessons learned and the road ahead”, ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation, 41(2), pp. 179–201. doi: 10.14573/altex.2403061.

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