Responsibility and Laboratory Animal Research Governance
Science, Technology, and Human Values
The use of animals in experiments and research remains highly contentious. Laboratory animal research governance provides guidance and regulatory frameworks to oversee the use and welfare of laboratory animals and relies heavily on the replacement, reduction, and refinement (3Rs) principles to demonstrate responsibility. However, the application of the 3Rs is criticized for being too narrow in focus and closing down societal concerns and political questions about the purpose of animal laboratory research. These critiques challenge the legitimacy of responsibility in laboratory animal research governance and call for new approaches. With the advent of the "Responsible Research and Innovation" (RRI) agenda, we investigate whether the notion of responsibility in the controversial area of animal research governance could be enhanced by examining the 3Rs through RRI. Our analysis reveals RRI has the potential to helpfully augment the 3Rs in three key ways: recognizing the need to include a broader range of experts and publics in animal research governance; emphasizing the importance for animal research scientists of taking societal, and not just role, responsibilities into account; and acknowledging the political questions animal research raises.
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was funded by the Leverhulme Trust as part of the research program “Making Science Public: Challenges and Opportunities” (grant number RP2011-SP-013). This work was also supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council [grant number BB/L013940/1].
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from SAGE Publications via the DOI in this record.
Published online 1 September 2017