Over a week of events on replacement alternatives in education, research and testing is being held across South Africa from Thursday 23 August 2012.

Co-organised by InterNICHE and the National Council of SPCAs, the events comprise the first major alternatives outreach in the country. The workshops are being held at Onderstepoort Veterinary Animal Hospital (University of Pretoria), with follow-up seminars at universities at 6 cities across the country.

InterNICHE Co-ordinator Nick Jukes and the NSPCA team will be joined by research and testing experts Dr Barbara Grune from the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), and Dr Andre Menache from Antidote Europe.

On 23 August the workshop on alternatives in education and training explores the pedagogical, ethical and economic advantages of humane learning tools. Following an introduction to the work of the NSPCA Animal Ethics Unit, InterNICHE Co-ordinator Nick Jukes will address best practice and alternatives to animal experiments, illustrated with video clips and demonstrations of software, models, mannekins and simulators.

A Multimedia Exhibition will provide access to nearly 100 learning tools from across the disciplines, many taken from the newly established NSPCA / InterNICHE Alternatives Loan System, based in South Africa. Delegates can trial software networked across 50 computers.

A live demonstration of laparoscopic surgery will illustrate the potential of advanced training tools for superior surgical skills acquisition and the replacement of animal experiments. Specially prepared ethically sourced organs will be perfused using the POP (Pulsating Organ Perfusion) Trainer from Optimist and a full laparoscopy stack, to demonstrate a range of clinical procedures and use of different surgical tools. The organs derive from a companion animal dog that had been euthanised for medical reasons, following the InterNICHE Policy on replacement methods.

On 24 August the workshop addresses alternatives in research and testing. Barbara Grune will introduce alternatives in these fields and provide a review of legislative developments concerning animal experimentation such as the new EU Directive 2010/63/EU. She will also describe the work of AXLR8 and its efforts to accelerate the transition to a toxicity pathway-based paradigm for chemical safety assessment. Finally she will review funding of R&D and validation of alternatives, and review global information resources and techniques for a reliable search onalternatives to animal experiments.

Veterinarian Andre Menache will explore the use of animal models and human-based research in an age of personalised medicine. He will reflect on ethical committees and their effectiveness, with a call to establish a level playing field, and will question the use of sentient animals in fundamental research, suggesting it is time to raise the bar.

After the workshops, seminars will be held at the following venues:

27 August: Main campus, University of Pretoria

28 August: University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), Johannesburg

29 August: University of the Free State, Bloemfontein

30 August: University of Cape Town (UCT), Cape Town

31 August: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Port Elizabeth

4 September: University of North West, Potchefstroom

Enquiries should be directed to:

* Sr Vanessa Anderson (NSPCA) on cellphone +27 (0) 82 828-0354, or by email:

* Nick Jukes (InterNICHE) by email: