Uses of animals and alternatives in college and veterinary education at the University of California, Davis: Institutional commitment for mainstreaming alternatives
The use of animals in teaching for college, veterinary and medical education in the USA has sharply declined in recent decades. Economic disincentives and public discussions have diminished this use of animals, as well as the growing availability of alternative resources for teaching. In the USA, the use of live animals in teaching at the post-secondary level requires a protocol review similar to that used for research, whereas protocols are not required for the use of non-living specimens. Many outstanding alternatives have been created that supplant some uses of animals. Creating alternatives for a comprehensive biological or veterinary curriculum can best be addressed by a long-term commitment of leadership at the institutional level, leading to an incremental development of alternatives. Economic realities and the demonstration of educational results equal to, or exceeding that of the consumptive uses of animals support supplanting the more traditional methods. Committed leadership at the University of California, Davis, has facilitated the development of teaching tools and the mainstreaming of alternatives within the standard undergraduate and veterinary curriculum. The institutional culture supports these resources, and finding further solutions requiring less consumptive uses of animals. We introduce here a web-based tool providing improved access to these resources: www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/Animal-Alternatives/main.htm.