Blom H. Teaching humane science: A European perspective [abstract]. ALTEX. 2005;22(Special Issue):9


In an increasing number of European countries some specific system of training exists for persons (wanting to become) involved in animal experimentation. Aiming at furthering the harmonisation and standardisation of such education programmes the Council of Europe adopted in its Convention ETS 123 for the protection of vertebrate animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes (1986) the recommendations of the Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations. FELASA developed educating and training programmes for laboratory animal caretakers (Cat. A), research technicians (Cat. B), scientists (Cat. C) and laboratory animal science specialists (Cat. D). In addition FELASA started in 2004 an accreditation system to guarantee the quality of laboratory animal science education and training programmes. It is generally expected that the European Union will also include mandatory training of personnel involved in animal experimentation in its Directive 86/609/EC which is currently being revised.

The principles of the 3Rs can be recognised throughout the curriculum of the recommended training programmes. Apart from training skills each programme focuses on developing an attitude towards the humane treatment of the animals used for scientific purposes. Without neglecting the importance to seek possibilities to replace the use of animals, the emphasis is laid on adequately designing animal experiments. Students are thought that proper a priori statistics as well as standardisation of procedures can reduce the numbers of animals needed without jeopardising the quality of the results. Also the principle that methods that induce less discomfort are beneficial to both animals and science are elementary in the training programmes.

Link to journal: ALTEX - Alternatives to Animal Experimentation