The European Commission recently ran a survey on available education and training courses and resources focusing on or including animal procedures used for scientific purposes, and more specifically, the 3Rs: Replacement, Reduction, Refinement.
EuChemS has responded to the survey with the example of the upcoming online EuChemS course on Ethics and Chemistry – currently in pilot stage. The course, designed for chemistry students primarily, but open to other fields of study, will explore a number of highly important and relevant issues concerning the practice of science on an everyday basis. From the moral dilemmas of faking scientific results to publishing, from conflicts of interest to sustainability, to the issue of animal procedures for scientific purposes, this wide reaching, dense and highly informative course, which will moreover lean on various specific case studies, will enable all those interested to better understand the ethical, methodological and social dimensions of chemistry.
The 3Rs – Replacement, Reduction, Refinement, are an underlying principle that the European Union and the USA aim to follow in their methods for using animals in scientific experiment planning and conduct. The 3Rs have been justified on the grounds that they minimise harm to animals and promote animal welfare within the context of animal experimentation. But the 3Rs only make sense if one believes that the research protocols are likely to yield results with scientific, medical or social values. As such, should there not be a fourth R for relevance? And perhaps a fifth, for redundancy avoidance?
Keep an eye on this space for more information and insights into the upcoming MOOC!
You can download our answer to the European Commission survey here.