Reduce, refine, replace – responsibility

The scientists at the Max Planck Society are committed to keeping the number of animal experiments as well as the strain on the animals as low as possible in the individual experiments. They apply the so-called 3R principle when planning and carrying out the experiments. '3R' stands for "Reduce, Refine, Replace": the number of animals per experiment is reduced to the absolute minimum ('Reduction'); the performance of the experiments and the keeping of the animals optimized in such a way that the burden on the animals is as small as possible ('Refinement'); and animal experiments are replaced by alternative methods, whenever this is possible ('Replacement').

In addition, the researchers of the Max Planck Society commit themselves to a fourth 'R' for "responsibility". They want to use their knowledge in life sciences and humanities to promote animal welfare in their institutes.

To fulfill the fourth R, the MPG commits itself

  • to improve the social life of the experimental animals 
  • develop further the scientific basis for the objective determination of sentience, experience of pain, consciousness and intelligence in the animal kingdom
  • proactively engage in professionalizing the public discourse on questions of animal ethics
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