In 1959, The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique was published by Russell and Burch, introducing the 3Rs concept (replacement, reduction, and refinement) regarding animal use in the scientific community. Just over 60 years later, it is timely to review progress to date and the future outlook regarding alternative approaches to animal testing.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced elimination of all mammal study requests and funding by 2035, and the Dutch Minister for Agriculture aims for the Netherlands to become the ‘world leader in innovations without laboratory animals by 2025’. These ambitious objectives by the Netherlands and the US are backed also at an EU level, with both citizens and industry anticipating significant reductions in the coming years.

It is important to acknowledge that to date, most scientific breakthrough and biomedical success is grateful to animal use and testing, without which many achievements would not have been possible (for example, increases in cancer survival rates, vaccinations, and the eradication of diseases such as smallpox). With the modern advances of science and technology today, we are embarking on a new era of methodologies to understand disease and mechanisms in humans.

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