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The Brazilian government has published a resolution that bans animal use in some practical classes within undergraduate and high school technical education from April 2019. Resolution No. 38/2018, issued by the National Council for the Control of Animal Experimentation (CONCEA), bans the killing of animals for dissection purposes and animal experiments in practical classes that do not involve the acquisition of new skills. The initial call for the ban was by the Brazilian Network for Humane Education (RedEH), an independent body comprising Brazilian professors and international collaborators dedicated to the implementation of replacement alternatives in education. The call was supported by InterNICHE, and many professors and other international organisations. The Brazilian Council of Veterinary Medicine, which is responsible for regulating the veterinary profession in Brazil, also stated its support for humane education and for the ban. The call was the first formal request, and it eventually led to the first legal resolution for the replacement of animal use in education in Brazil. This represents an important historic landmark in the advancement of science education.
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In the USA, the general public want the use of animals in medical training to cease, but, at least in Australia, some teachers want it to continue, even when effective non-animal alternatives are available.
Justin Namuk Kim, Eun Hee Choi and Soo-Ki Kim
To promote awareness of animal experimentation ethics among teenagers, we created an educational pamphlet and an accompanying questionnaire. One hundred Indian teenage school pupils were given the pamphlet and subsequently surveyed with the questionnaire, to evaluate: a) their perception of animal experimentation ethics; and b) their opinion on the effectiveness of the pamphlet, according to gender and school grade/age. There was a significant correlation between grade/age and support for animal experimentation, i.e. senior students were more inclined to show support for animal experimentation. There was also a significant correlation between gender and perception of the need to learn about animal experimentation ethics, with girls more likely to feel the need to learn about ethics than boys. In addition, the four questions relating to the usefulness of the pamphlet, and student satisfaction with its content, received positive responses from the majority of the students. Even though the pamphlet was concise, it was apparent that three quarters of the students were satisfied with its content. Gender and age did not influence this level of satisfaction. Overall, our study shows that there is a significant correlation between a pupil’s school grade/age and their support for animal experimentation, and that there is also a significant correlation between gender and the perceived need to learn about animal experimentation ethics. This pilot scheme involving an educational pamphlet and questionnaire could be beneficial in helping to formulate basic strategies for educating teenage school pupils about animal ethics.
A Training Course on Laboratory Animal Science: An Initiative to Implement the Three Rs of Animal Research in India
Kunal Pratap and Vijay Pal Singh
There is a current need for a change in the attitudes of researchers toward the care and use of experimental animals in India. This could be achieved through improvements in the provision of training, to further the integration of the Three Rs concept into scientific research and into the regulations of the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA). A survey was performed after participants undertook the Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations (FELASA) Category C-based course on Laboratory Animal Science (in 2013 and 2015). It revealed that the participants subsequently employed, in their future research, the practical and theoretical Three Rs approaches that they had learned. This is of great importance in terms of animal welfare, and also serves to benefit their research outcomes extensively. All the lectures, hands-on practical sessions and supplementary elements of the courses, which also involved the handling of small animals and procedures with live animals, were well appreciated by the participants. Insight into developments in practical handling and welfare procedures, norms, directives, and ethical use of laboratory animals in research, was also provided, through the comparison of results from the 2013 and 2015 post-course surveys.
Magda Sachana, Alexandros Theodoridis, Cristina Cortinovis, Fabiola Pizzo, Evaggelos Kehagias, Marco Albonico and Francesca Caloni
The use of alternative methods for teaching purposes is gradually increasing in higher education. In order to evaluate the usefulness of non-animal based practical classes in veterinary science, and to inform on possible benefits and limitations of these teaching tools, a questionnaire was designed and distributed to students. Although there was no complete agreement among the student responses, it was apparent that the majority of the students would like traditional training methods to be paired with alternative approaches, and expressed their desire to be exposed to as many humane modes of learning as possible. In addition, the students agreed that alternative teaching methods for training in veterinary science can reinforce existing knowledge that is required at the clinical stage, and that they can be effective supplements to traditional training methods. It was also concluded from the study that the use of new alternative approaches is very much appreciated by the students, whereas the validity and effectiveness of these methods are debatable, suggesting that further optimisation, proper application and evaluation of these alternative methods is required.
Education and Training: A Basis for the Introduction of the Three Rs Alternatives into Animal Research
Bert F,M. van Zutphen
Harald Schöffl, Stefan M. Froschauer, Karin M. Dunst, Dietmar Hager, Oskar Kwasny and Georg M. Huemer
Education and training in microsurgical techniques have historically relied on the use of live animal models. Due to an increase in the numbers of microsurgical operations in recent times, the number of trainees in this highly-specialised surgical field has continued to grow. However, strict legislation, greater public awareness, and an increasing sensitivity toward the ethical aspects of scientific research and medical education, emphatically demand a significant reduction in the numbers of animals used in surgical and academic education. Hence, a growing number of articles are reporting on the use of alternatives to live animals in microsurgical education and training. In this review, we report on the current trends in the development and use of microsurgical training models, and on their potential to reduce the number of live animals used for this purpose. We also share our experiences in this field, resulting from our performance of numerous microsurgical courses each year, over more than ten years. The porcine heart, in microvascular surgery training, and the fresh chicken leg, in microneurosurgical and microvascular surgery training, are excellent models for the teaching of basic techniques to the microsurgical novice. Depending on the selected level of expertise of the trainee, these alternative models are capable of reducing the numbers of live animals used by 80–100%. For an even more enhanced, “closer-to-real-life” scenario, these non-animated vessels can be perfused by a pulsatile pump. Thus, it is currently possible to provide excellent and in-depth training in microsurgical techniques, even when the number of live animals used is reduced to a minimum. With these new and innovative techniques, trainees are able to learn and prepare themselves for the clinical situation, with the sacrifice of considerably fewer laboratory animals than would have occurred previously.
The FRAME Reduction Steering Committee: Reflections on a Decade Devoted to Reducing Animal Use in Biomedical Science
Michelle Hudson and Bryan Howard
Established in 1998, the FRAME Reduction Committee (FRC) (now the FRAME Reduction Steering Committee [FRSC]) has continued to pursue its aim of reducing the number of animals used in biomedical science. Through its expertise in statistics, experimental design, animal welfare and research on alternatives, it has contributed to raising awareness of the need for reduction and the means of achieving and demonstrating it. In recognising the need for training of scientists to appreciate and understand the concept of reduction, the FRSC has organised dedicated workshops and training schools. Some of the Committee’s major achievements are described, and, bearing in mind the current year-on-year increases in the number of scientific procedures on animals, its future activities are outlined.
Catherine Tiplady, Shan Lloyd and John Morton
Live animals and cadavers are integral to veterinary education. In the year of this survey (2008), and in at least the five preceding years, cadavers obtained by euthanasia of healthy pound dogs and ex-racing greyhounds were dissected by students, during their veterinary anatomy classes at the University of Queensland School of Veterinary Science. Students may have ethical concerns about this. An alternative approach was to use donated dog cadavers. These are owned pet dogs that have died of natural causes or have been euthanised for medical reasons, and have been donated by their owners for the purposes of veterinary education. Veterinary students at the School were surveyed in 2008, in order to determine their preferences for cadaver source. Data from 406 questionnaires were analysed. Third-year and fifth-year veterinary students were more likely than first-year students to prefer pound-dog/greyhound cadavers over donated cadavers for anatomy dissection (p ≤ 0.002). Between 32% and 45% of the students had no preference for either source of cadaver. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that veterinary students become more accepting of the euthanasia of unwanted healthy animals for education as they progress through the veterinary programme, in contexts such as the current study. This could occur due to increased acceptance of the euthanasia of healthy animals generally, a decline in moral development, desensitisation, and/or the belief that healthy animal cadavers offer a superior learning experience.