Humpenöder M, Corte GM, Pfützner M, Wiegard M, Merle R, Hohlbaum K, Erickson NA, Plendl J, Thöne-Reineke C. Alternatives in Education-Evaluation of Rat Simulators in Laboratory Animal Training Courses from Participants' Perspective. Animals (Basel). 2021 Dec 5;11(12):3462

PMID: 34944238


In laboratory animal science (LAS) education and training, five simulators are available for exercises on handling and routine procedures on the rat, which is-beside mice-the most commonly used species in LAS. Since these simulators may have high potential in protecting laboratory rats, the aim of this study is to investigate the simulators' impact on the 3R (replace, reduce, refine) principle in LAS education and training. Therefore, the simulators were evaluated by 332 course participants in 27 different LAS courses via a practical simulator training workshop and a paper-based two-part questionnaire-both integrated in the official LAS course schedule. The results showed a high positive resonance for simulator training and it was considered especially useful for the inexperienced. However, the current simulators may not completely replace exercises on live animals and improvements regarding more realistic simulators are demanded. In accordance with literature data on simulator-use also in other fields of education, more research on simulators and new developments are needed, particularly with the aim for a broad implementation in LAS education and training benefiting all 3Rs.