Marsman D and Golab G. Veterinarians' roles in improving the use of alternatives in the life sciences [abstract]. ALTEX. 2009;26(Special Issue):237. Abstract 530


Veterinarians are uniquely positioned to assist in the development, acceptance, and implementation of alternatives to animal use in the life sciences.

Trained in systems biology and medicine, research veterinarians are involved in the conduct and evaluation of in vivo bioassays, and are well-suited to help develop alternatives. Actively engaged in developing animal models of human and animal diseases, veterinarians should also participate in the validation of new methods and work to gain their acceptance and implementation.

Veterinarians play a critical and trusted role in the broader use of animals in the life sciences and can be instrumental in shifting societal perceptions of acceptable use. Central to the 3Rs is duality of respect for the utility of animals and their welfare; veterinarians can extend these principles beyond laboratory settings.

Veterinarians have multiple opportunities to educate scientists, educators, corporate and non-profit personnel, policy makers and the public in the scientific and ethical merits of embracing alternatives. Laboratory animal veterinarians ensure animal welfare by providing health care and advice, training in good practices, and counsel scientists about selection of appropriate models for research. They may assist policy makers in developing standards that appropriately ensure consideration of alternatives. In educational settings, veterinarians can teach proper respect for animals, appropriate care to ensure welfare, and guide educators and the public who make use of animals in the classroom, science fairs or exhibits. Veterinarians in private clinical practice can educate the public about the importance of adopting a 3Rs mindset, while embracing the value of biomedical research.

Link to journal: ALTEX - Alternatives to Animal Experimentation