Blom H, Wolschrijn C, den Hartog I, Wittevrongel C. New replacement alternatives used for training students in veterinary medicine in the Netherlands [abstract]. ALTEX. 2011;28(Special Issue):215. Abstract 434.



Over the last 12 months, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, The Netherlands and the Dutch Society for Replacement of Animal Testing (ds RAT, Proefdiervrij) have discussed possibilities to further reduce the use of laboratory animals for teaching and training veterinary students. The deliberations have led to the signing of two formal agreements between both parties.

Until recently animals, mainly dogs and cats, that were frozen or formaldehyde fixed after euthanasia upon arrival were used for teaching knowledge of anatomy in practical classes at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Utrecht. A similar approach was used for practical classes in which students were trained in surgical skills. The Utrecht University and ds RAT agreed to join forces to introduce a body donation program aiming at a full replacement of laboratory animals by pets euthanized for health related causes. After roughly half a year the initiative already can be called a success.

Ds RAT has also agreed to substantially support the Utrecht University to further develop plastinated models of animals to replace the need for carcasses. This assistance allows for the production of a number of educational boxes containing a variety of detailed body parts of different animal species for teaching and training veterinary anatomy. Both projects are a typical demonstration that parties that may have conflicting points of view can nevertheless find ways to join efforts so as to reach goals of mutual interest.