Research is often carried out using plants, microorganisms, animals, and other testing models. Animals that are used in research should be of proper quality which entails many components, including but not limited to, their origins, presence of infective agents, housing conditions, anesthesia method used, the living organism’s level of stress and pain, and procedure techniques.
One of the key conditions for receiving a grant from RSF is to publish research results in leading Russian and foreign peer-reviewed journals. This condition implies that the global academic community must recognize the results of the research conducted. In order to develop national research and increase global competitiveness of science in Russia, researchers undoubtedly need to comply with certain ethical principles when working with animals.
Both national and international practices show that ethical principles of animal testing (3R principle: Replacement, Reduction, Refinement)) are intended primarily to avoid animal testing wherever possible, reduce animal testing, and minimize the harm done to animals when testing is unavoidable. Consistent and responsible implementation of these principles not only accounts for the ethical aspect of animal testing, but also improves the quality of research results.
Based on the experience of Russian research development, international practices, and the results of studying Russian scientists’ methods when working with animals in various areas, the RSF’s Expert Councils formulated their ethical position on the use of animal testing. This stance reflects the opinion of the RSF expert community and is intended to improve animal testing practices in research funded by the RSF. This stance is a recommendation and is no way intended to restrict academic freedoms.
The RSF Expert Councils position is that researchers using animal testing must properly document their activities to better structure and formalize all their work. Additionally, personnel authorized to work with animals must be properly qualified to ensure compliance with the norms and ethical principles of animal testing.
The RSF Expert Councils also believe that animals must be properly housed and kept in appropriate conditions to minimize the possible deterioration of their condition. Also, all procedures done on animals must account for their condition to ensure more accurate and reliable research results. The central guiding principle is the professional, responsible handling of laboratory animals to ensure the highest level of animal welfare and quality in research.
According to the opinion of the RSF’s Expert Councils, these principles must be reflected in both the applications submitted to the Foundation as well as in parts of the project reports (reports, publications, mass media) that describe animal testing. The RSF’s Expert Councils will welcome the decision of Russian researchers and research performing organizations to share this position and adhere to it when carrying out any research regardless of their relations with the RSF.
For more detailed information regarding the position of the RSF Expert Councils, please see here.