DATE: February 9, 2017
TIME: 10:30am PT, 1:30pm ET
During the last 50 years the claims for continuous development and training of laboratory animal staff has been progressively developing. In the same period competent veterinary support has become an increasingly integrated part of running high-tech laboratory animal facilities and performing state-of-the-art experiments in respect of the 3Rs. At present, the laboratory animal science community is faced with new challenges to meet the objectives of the new Directive 2010/63/EU. Although, the more detailed demands issued on the basis of the directive is generally to regarded as a positive input, because it has created an opportunity to further advance laboratory animal science training and education, it is also a challenge, because time and resources put a natural limit on the possibilities for lab animal vets to receive the proper training. Already today, not enough LAS programs are available across Europe, and new courses with a more flexible content need to be developed on the various levels of animal experimentation jobs. Online courses can help dealing with these challenges, as they are available anywhere at any time and are not limited to a certain number of participants. Theoretical knowledge and practical aspects of LAS can be taught online line at a students’ own study pace. Web-based programs offer the advantage of the option of multi-lingual training approaches within the same platform. Also it offers more flexibility for both teacher and student. For vets, it is obvious that there is also a need for practical training. However, if the hiring policy of the company or institution is directed towards securing a mixture of generations among vets, or if smaller organisation collaborate to secure this, the practical training is far more easy and probably also wiser to establish on-site rather than leaving this part to larger educational institutions such as the universities. In the future, the universities should, therefore, offer easily accessible online teaching programmes available globally to cover the needed curriculum, while the facilities themselves should collaborate on a more local scale to establish the practical training. The large non-governmental organisations in laboratory animal science and medicine, such as the veterinary unions, the laboratory animal science societies and the diplomat collages should then take on them to quality assure and accredit these programs.