2009 年 6 巻 3 号 p. 215-222
Worldwide, animal use figures for scientific purposes have been conservatively estimated as approximately 127 million in 2005. Over 11 million living non-human vertebrates were used within Japan in 2004. This was second only to the USA, which used approximately 17 million animals in 2005. The scientific and regulatory limitations inherent within the use of animal models during human clinical and toxicological investigations are substantial, and increasingly recognized. A previous trend of decreasing animal use is reversing, largely due to increased use of genetically-modified animals, and the implementation of large-scale chemical testing programs. These developments demonstrate the need for considerably greater awareness and implementation of the 3Rs -the replacement, reduction and refinement of laboratory animal use -within governmental, academic and commercial sectors. These principles are widely recognized as essential to good laboratory animal practice. They may increase research quality and the robustness of procedures; result in reduced timeframes and resource consumption; and provide more reliable human clinical and toxicological outcomes. An overview of 3Rs principles, and of strategies likely to increase their implementation, is therefore provided. Combinations of such strategies may have synergistic effects, improving scientific outcomes whilst decreasing animal use.