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J Vet Med Educ. 2018 Jun 13:1-11. doi: 10.3138/jvme.0117-009r1. [Epub ahead of print]

Mapping the Teaching of Laboratory Animal Science and Medicine in the European Union and European Free Trade Area.


Developing a common market and allowing free movement of goods, services, and people is one of the main objectives of the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Area. In the field of scientific research, Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes aims to improve the welfare of laboratory animals by following the principle of the 3Rs (replacement, reduction, and refinement). Each breeder, supplier, and user must appoint a designated veterinarian to advise on the well-being and treatment of the animals. In our report we investigate how the undergraduate veterinary curriculum prepares future veterinarians for the role of designated veterinarian, by analyzing data from 77 European veterinary education establishments. Over 80% of them provide training in laboratory animal science and medicine in their curriculum. All countries in the EU and the European Free Trade Area, having national veterinary schools, include such training in the curriculum of at least one of their establishments. Laboratory animal science and medicine courses can be obligatory or elective and are often part of more than one subject in the veterinary curricula. Post-graduate courses or programs are available at more than 50% of those veterinary schools. Most authorities in the European region consider graduate veterinarians ready to seek the role as designated veterinarian immediately after graduation.


3Rs; Directive 2010/63; European Free Trade Area; European Union (EU); designated veterinarian; laboratory animal science and medicine; research animals; veterinary curriculum


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