New Paper Highlights the Need to PREPARE Animal Experiments to Fully Implement the 3Rs

By Michelle Hudson-Shore

In their new paper, publishd in November, Dr Adrian Smith and Dr Elliot Lilley, discuss the role of the 3Rs in improving the planning and reproducibility of animal experiments (Smith and Lilley 2019)[1], focussing on the recently developed PREPARE (Planning Research and Experimental Procedures on Animals: Recommendations for Excellence) guidelines as a means to accomplish advancements in these areas.

In recent years there has been increasing discussion about a ‘reproducibility crisis’ in the field of animal research. Smith and Lilley (2019) discuss how the majority of the effort to overcome this has been focussed on the reporting of animal work and improving understanding of the statistical and mathematical aspects of experimental design. However, they argue that a much more holistic approach needs to be taken with greater emphasis on careful planning of experiments and consideration of the many related aspects of animal research such as, the staff, animal welfare, efficient design and communication; after all nothing can be done to improve a cake once it has been burnt, so they advocate the use of the PREPARE Guidelines.

The PREPARE guidelines focuses on a large number of factors which, although they are seldom reported in scientific papers, can dramatically influence the validity and outcome of studies on animals, as well as the health and safety of all those concerned. They cover all stages of quality assurance, from the management of an animal facility or population to the individual procedures which form part of a study. The aim of the guidelines is to be a communication tool, by triggering attention to important areas and provoking the need to consult with specialists in other fields. As well as a checklist PREPARE also consists of a suite of web-based resources relating to each point on the list.

For more information, please visit the following link:

[1] Smith AJ. and Lilley E. (2019). The role of the Three Rs in improving the planning and reproducibility of animal experiments. Animals,9, 975; doi:10.3390/ani9110975.