Spec. Issue 2006 - Article Summary

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The InterNICHE policy on the use of animals and alternatives in education

Nick Jukes 1 and Siri Martinsen2
1InterNICHE, Leicester, England; 2InterNICHE Norway, Oslo, Norway
The InterNICHE “Policy on the Use of Animals and Alternatives in Education” is a comprehensive document in 10 sections that addresses all aspects of work with animals and alternatives in life science education. The Policy presents guidelines to ensure effective and fully ethical acquisition of knowledge and skills. It includes a definition of alternatives in education and of harm, and presents individual policies on dissection, the sourcing of animal cadavers and tissue, work with live animals for clinical skills and surgery training, and ethical field studies. It also addresses the use of animals for the production of alternatives. While the ideal “replacement alternative” is defined as “non-animal” within the 3Rs philosophy of Russell and Burch (1959), the Policy highlights a shortcoming of this approach for education. Not only is there a requirement for some students to work with animals, animal tissue and clinical procedures in their education, there is widespread evidence of the ability to fully meet all teaching objectives in ways that are neutral or beneficial to individual animals and that do not involve animal experimentation or killing. As well as non-animal learning tools, like multimedia computer simulation, digital video, training models and mannequins, replacement alternatives also include the use of ethically-sourced animal cadavers for dissection and skills training and apprenticeship into clinical practice with animal patients.
Definitions of “ethically-sourced” and of ethical educational opportunities within clinical work are included in the Policy, which demonstrates the possibilities for full replacement of harmful animal use in education.

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