Humpenöder M, Corte GM, Pfützner M, Wiegard M, Merle R, Hohlbaum K, Erickson NA, Plendl J, Thöne-Reineke C. Alternatives in Education-Rat and Mouse Simulators Evaluated from Course Trainers' and Supervisors' Perspective. Animals (Basel). 2021 Jun 22;11(7):1848

PMID: 34206243


Simulators allow the inexperienced to practice their skills prior to exercise on live animals. Therefore, they bear great potential in overcoming the dilemma between the present demand for high-quality practical training involving live animals whilst implementing the 3R principle according to the Directive 2010/63/EU. Currently, one mouse and six rat simulators are commercially available. As data on their impact are lacking, this project aimed at providing an overview of the awareness, implementation, and methodical and practical satisfaction provided by 35 course trainers and supervisors of laboratory animal training courses for mice and rats regarding the simulators available. Although simulators facilitate training of relevant techniques and relatively high awareness of them seemed to be present, their implementation is currently very low, possibly due to lack of meeting the respondents' demands. Thus, this study revealed the overall approval of simulator training and general demand for user-optimized, realistic, and financially affordable simulators and, hence, indicates a strong impulse for new developments strengthening the 3Rs as a benefit to all animals used in research.