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This article appeals to virtue ethics to help guide laboratory animal research by considering the role of character and flourishing in these practices. Philosophical approaches to animal research ethics have typically focused on animal rights or on the promotion of welfare for all affected, while animal research itself has been guided in its practice by the 3Rs (reduction, refinement, replacement). These different approaches have sometimes led to an impasse in debates over animal research where the philosophical approaches are focused on whether or when animal studies are justifiable, while the 3Rs assume a general justification for animal work but aim to reduce harm to sentient animals and increase their welfare in laboratory spaces. Missing in this exchange is a moral framework that neither assumes nor rejects the justifiability of animal research and focuses instead on the habits and structures of that work. I shall propose a place for virtue ethics in laboratory animal research by considering examples of relevant character traits, the moral significance of human-animal bonds, mentorship in the laboratory, and the importance of animals flourishing beyond mere welfare.