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European Schoolnet Academy

The Three Rs and Animal Use in Science

European Schoolnet Academy via Independent


The European Union is committed to replacing the use of animals in science, and we need young scientists to help us achieve that goal.

This real-world challenge is ideal for developing critical thinking skills, and giving context to your classes on ethics, biology, statistics, philosophy or civic studies. Finding alternatives to animal testing is not only about animal welfare; it is also the way develop the sustainable and ‘good’ science of the future.

Many medicinal and toxic compounds are tested on animals before they are declared safe for human use, animals are also used in basic and applied research. But this can be costly, it can cause suffering to animals, and the results do not always to translate successfully to humans. In this course you will explore the new technologies that could make scientific tests completely animal-free in the future.

You can explore the principles of the 3R's relating to animals used for scientific purposes. The 3R's stand for: Replacement; to replace animals with other methods, wherever possible. Reduction; to use fewer animals in research. Refinement; to minimise discomfort in lab animals through better housing, handling and pain relief. The MOOC will take you through these principles, and many examples on how to address them in the classroom. You will discover new ways to develop your students' critical thinking and debating skills, develop their data literacy, and enhance their understanding of science.


Module 1: Animal welfare and science opens on 13/01/2020

Module 2: Human-based science opens on 20/01/2020

Module 3: Critical thinking opens on 27/01/2020

Module 4: Your own 3R’s learning scenario opens on 03/02/2020


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