Alternatives in Education—Rat and Mouse Simulators Evaluated from Course Trainers’ and Supervisors’ Perspective
Institute of Animal Welfare, Animal Behavior and Laboratory Animal Science, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, 14163 Berlin, Germany
Institute of Veterinary Anatomy, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Institute for Veterinary Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, 14163 Berlin, Germany
MF 3—Animal Facility—Method Development and Research Infrastructure, Robert Koch-Institute, 13353 Berlin, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vera Baumans
Received: 18 May 2021 / Revised: 17 June 2021 / Accepted: 17 June 2021 / Published: 22 June 2021
Simulators for training in laboratory animal science bear great potential to overcome the dilemma between the present demand for high-quality practical training involving live animals whilst implementing the “3R principle” (Replace, Reduce, Refine) according to the Directive 2010/63/EU. Currently, one mouse and six rat simulators are available, but only few data on them exist. To advance simulator-based training, an online survey for course trainers and supervisors of laboratory animal training courses focusing mice and rats was conducted, as these groups are most aware of its implementation due to applying alternative education and training methods regularly. This study reflects the current awareness, implementation, and satisfaction concerning methodical and practical criteria of the simulators including the requirements for a new development of 35 course trainers and supervisors who completed a German online survey conducted between May 2018 and June 2019. Although the study revealed a high awareness of existing simulators, their implementation is rather low, perhaps due to them not meeting certain demands. Generally, an approval of simulator-based training and a demand for user-optimized, realistic, financially affordable, and robust rat and mouse simulators were indicated, which may strongly benefit the 3Rs and animals in all experimental areas.