The UK National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) has published a report about the research it funds into improving the welfare of zebrafish that are used in biomedical research.
Refinement can mean any methods that minimise pain, suffering, distress or any lasting harm that may be experienced by research animals.
One project, at Imperial College London, developed non-invasive techniques, of live imaging fluorescent zebrafish, to investigate stem cell transplants, as an alternative to experiments that use fish survival as a measure of transplant success.
The report also cited previous examples of successful refinement, such as by Professor Oliver Burman, at the University of Lincoln, who received a £314,000 grant from NC3Rs, to observe fish social networks to identify early behavioural changes that indicate stress, and to intervene sooner to improve welfare.
The social media campaign #FishInResearch, organised by Understanding Animal Research, took place last week.