More than 160 thousand animals are still used per year for the primary purpose of education and training. There is also a lack of knowledge about non-animal approaches, not only in schools and universities but also throughout researchers’ professional lives
A culture shift needs to start in schools and extend to universities, where animals are still routinely used in life sciences curricula. Students get used to practising a myriad of procedures on animals, where alternative teaching methods are available, reinforcing a culture that accepts the use of animals as mere tools. With these educational practices, old habits and ways of conducting research are being reinforced in a new generation of researchers and healthcare professionals.
There are three major challenges to the adoption of animal-free educational models:
Lack of knowledge of, or confidence in, existing animal-free teaching and training methods
Slow adaptation and development of technology to new training needs (e.g. new therapy)
Different mindsets in education and training of (veterinary) healthcare professionals and life scientists