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Article

Alternatives in Education—Rat and Mouse Simulators Evaluated from Course Trainers’ and Supervisors’ Perspective

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Institute of Animal Welfare, Animal Behavior and Laboratory Animal Science, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, 14163 Berlin, Germany
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Institute of Veterinary Anatomy, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, 14195 Berlin, Germany
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Institute for Veterinary Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, 14163 Berlin, Germany
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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
Animals 2021, 11(7), 1848; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11071848
Received: 18 May 2021 / Revised: 17 June 2021 / Accepted: 17 June 2021 / Published: 22 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Laboratory Animals)
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.
Simulators allow the inexperienced to practice their skills prior to exercise on live animals. Therefore, they bear great potential in overcoming the dilemma between the present demand for high-quality practical training involving live animals whilst implementing the 3R principle according to the Directive 2010/63/EU. Currently, one mouse and six rat simulators are commercially available. As data on their impact are lacking, this project aimed at providing an overview of the awareness, implementation, and methodical and practical satisfaction provided by 35 course trainers and supervisors of laboratory animal training courses for mice and rats regarding the simulators available. Although simulators facilitate training of relevant techniques and relatively high awareness of them seemed to be present, their implementation is currently very low, possibly due to lack of meeting the respondents’ demands. Thus, this study revealed the overall approval of simulator training and general demand for user-optimized, realistic, and financially affordable simulators and, hence, indicates a strong impulse for new developments strengthening the 3Rs as a benefit to all animals used in research. View Full-Text
Keywords: 3R principle; humane education; training; alternative; laboratory animals; EU Directive; survey; SimulRATor 3R principle; humane education; training; alternative; laboratory animals; EU Directive; survey; SimulRATor
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MDPI and ACS Style

Humpenöder, M.; Corte, G.M.; Pfützner, M.; Wiegard, M.; Merle, R.; Hohlbaum, K.; Erickson, N.A.; Plendl, J.; Thöne-Reineke, C. Alternatives in Education—Rat and Mouse Simulators Evaluated from Course Trainers’ and Supervisors’ Perspective. Animals 2021, 11, 1848. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11071848

AMA Style

Humpenöder M, Corte GM, Pfützner M, Wiegard M, Merle R, Hohlbaum K, Erickson NA, Plendl J, Thöne-Reineke C. Alternatives in Education—Rat and Mouse Simulators Evaluated from Course Trainers’ and Supervisors’ Perspective. Animals. 2021; 11(7):1848. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11071848

Chicago/Turabian Style

Humpenöder, Melanie, Giuliano M. Corte, Marcel Pfützner, Mechthild Wiegard, Roswitha Merle, Katharina Hohlbaum, Nancy A. Erickson, Johanna Plendl, and Christa Thöne-Reineke. 2021. "Alternatives in Education—Rat and Mouse Simulators Evaluated from Course Trainers’ and Supervisors’ Perspective" Animals 11, no. 7: 1848. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11071848

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