Certified expertise in small animal welfare and experimentation

2017 - 05 - 22

Certified expertise in small animal welfare and experimentation

Animal experimentation is employed in biomedical research to unravel disease mechanisms and perform preclinical studies, which are a necessary step in the development of new therapeutic strategies. LIH recently strengthened its expertise in small animal welfare and experimentation, with its animal welfare officer having successfully graduated in a Master of Laboratory Animal Science at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

LIH comprises rodent and zebrafish facilities that are maintained following national and European regulations (EU Directive 2010/63/EU). The institute applies an internal code of ethics on animal testing and has an Animal Welfare Structure that evaluates all experimental protocols in accordance with the code and the law. This structure is led by animal welfare officer Anaïs Oudin who as many years of practical experience in laboratory animal science.

In addition to her Master in preclinical expertise, Mrs Oudin had started a Master in Laboratory Animal Science at the University of Copenhagen to develop complementary skills. In April 2017, she received her diploma. The Master programme corresponds to an education of category D as defined by the Federation for European Laboratory Animal Science Associations (FELASA) and enables to be proficient on all operational aspects for the maintenance and experimentation on small laboratory animals, take responsibility for an animal facility, provide guidance to researchers about how to secure health and welfare during experimentation and ensure compliance with legislation. The programme was composed of E-learning modules, conferences, practical workshops that took place in Copenhagen and a training period of three months conducted on LIH research projects in tumour biology.

‘The knowledge acquires by this Master programme is highly valuable for my daily work,’ tells Anaïs Oudin. ‘The domain of animal science is in constant evolution. Currently, there is for example a lot of emphasis on reducing chirurgical interventions by applying less invasive methods. It is important to stay up to date with new techniques. Having my competences certified by this diploma also reinforces my authority as an animal welfare officer both at the institute and when interacting with the ministries for ethical approvals.’

Applying the three Rs

LIH applies the principles of the three Rs for animal experimentation: Replacement, Reduction and Refinement. This means that in vivo experiments are only used to confirm a scientific hypothesis which was previously been tested in vitro, for example in cell culture. A fourth R standing for the word “Respect” can be added, as the personnel trained in animal experimentation is made aware on the importance of respecting the animals as a living beings which can experience stress, pain and fear.