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IACUC and Animal Welfare

This page is designed to help you find information and resources about animal welfare and preparing IACUC protocols

The Three Rs (3Rs)

  • Replacement: Developing and using models and tools that to investigate important scientific questions without the use of animals, or using animals that are lower on the phylogenetic scale when non-animal alternatives are not feasible.
  • Reduction: Optimizing research design to ensure that animal experiments are robust and reproducible while minimizing the number of animals used  
  • Refinement: Improving animal well-being through modification of experimental protocols to minimize pain, suffering, and distress and advancing research by improving understanding of the impact of welfare on scientific outcomes

Adapted from: Russel, WMS and RL Burch (1959).The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique. Universities Federation of Animal Welfare: England, 238p. and The National Center for the Replacement, Refinement, and Reduction of Animals in Research.

Please visit our DatabasesBooksWebsites and Regulations pages to learn more about resources you can use to support your literature search on the 3Rs.

Need Help Searching?

VCU Libraries provides free consultations to assist investigators in conducting protocol databases searches necessary to meet the requirements of the US Animal Welfare Act (AWA).  The Health Sciences Library offers a broad range of reference services for VCU investigators such as assistance in:

  • choosing appropriate databases
  • building a comprehensive search strategy
  • running database searches
  • completing the protocol database search form with search results

Please contact John Cyrus (804-828-1881) or John Cyrus to begin your protocol search today!


Boolean Operators

Connecting terms with AND requires all terms to appear in the same article.

Connecting terms with OR results in articles that include one term,

a combination of terms, or all of the terms.


Sample searchThe effects of synthetic cathinone on discriminative stimulus in rodent animal models.

(rats OR mice) AND (discriminative stimulus OR drug discrimination) AND (synthetic cathinone OR MDPV OR methylone OR mephedrone)