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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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Teaching from the Heart

Sally Walshaw

In many countries, training for individuals working with research animals has been mandated for more than 30 years. Required training topics include methods for the proper handling of animals, anaesthesia, surgery, euthanasia, non-surgical procedures (e.g. injections, oral dosing, blood collection), and recognition of animal illness and pain. During training sessions, the instructor, as a role model, should encourage an attitude of respect and kindness toward the animals. By honouring and modelling these values, instructors can expect minimal distress for the laboratory animals during procedures, prompt reporting of unexpected adverse consequences in animals to the veterinarian and the animal care committee, and a strong interest in considering alternatives.