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The 3Rs

3rs page 3The 3Rs are guiding principles for the ethical use of animals in testing and are defined as Reduction, Refinement and Replacement (See Figure 1, used with permission from the NC3Rs). At Wickham Laboratories, we also believe in a 4th R – that of RESPONSIBILITY to our laboratory animals, society and the environment.

As a result of implementing the 3Rs in our toxicology department, the number of laboratory animals used in testing has been reduced by over 50% since the early 1990s. These numbers have gone down due to the discovery and implementation of alternative technologies by which to conduct testing.

One such instance is the replacement of the majority of rabbit pyrogen testing with the alternative Limulus Amebocyte Lysate (LAL) testing offered by our microbiology department. We have also recently verified the Monocyte Activation Test (MAT), which is our newest in vitro alternative for the assessment of pyrogenicity of pharmaceutical products and medical devices.

Aligned with the principles of the 3Rs, finding ethical alternatives to laboratory animal testing is important to both us and our clients, and we continue to research additional in vitro alternatives to those currently used.

For more information regarding our commitment to laboratory animal welfare, please visit the links below.  Alternatively, for further details on the 3Rs and their implementation, please visit