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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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Replacement of Harmful Animal Use in Life Science Education: The Approach and Activities of InterNICHE

Nick Jukes

Harmful animal use in undergraduate education is increasingly being replaced by alternatives, such as computer software, manikins and simulators, ethically sourced animal cadavers, apprentice work with animal patients, and student self-experimentation. Combinations of such alternatives can better meet teaching objectives, reduce costs and avoid the negative pedagogical and social impact of animal experimentation. Since 1988, the International Network for Humane Education (InterNICHE, formerly EuroNICHE) has been working with teachers to replace harmful animal use and has been supporting students’ right to conscientious objection. This paper presents the approach, history and current activities of InterNICHE. With a vision of 100% replacement, the network aims for empowerment by networking information and providing support. It works with the belief that most teachers want investment in the best quality and most humane education possible. The forthcoming second edition of the InterNICHE book, from Guinea Pig to Computer Mouse, includes practical details of progressive teaching aids and approaches, as well as case studies from teachers who employ such alternatives. In 1999, InterNICHE produced the film Alternatives in Education, now available in 20 languages. Such resources are complemented by outreach trips and conferences and an Alternatives Loan System, which offers products for familiarisation and assessment. The InterNICHE website (www.interniche.org) was launched in 2001.