Know about your skills and expertise with the Guide to Continuing Professional Development in animal experimentation!

The Netherlands 3Rs-Centre ULS (Utrecht Life Sciences) and the Dutch Platform of Animal Welfare Bodies (IvD-Platform) have launched the Guide to Continuing Professional Development in animal experimentation (CPD). This bilingual (Dutch-English) guide offers a system that will make it possible to create CPD files in a uniform way across the entire sector; practical for both research institutes and individual members of staff. The guide also underlines the importance of a focus on Culture of Care, the best possible care and treatment of laboratory animals and the assurance thereof within the organization. The Netherlands National Committee for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (NCad) endorses that vision. It is important that the management of research institutes embrace the realization of a Culture of Care.

What is Culture of Care?

Culture of Care focuses on the culture within organizations, on the actual use and treatment and care of the animals. It is akin to the term 'chain responsibility' from livestock husbandry: you take responsibility and proactive responsibility for all steps in the process. In our case, the process is an animal experiment.

Culture of Care is created together

The management of a research institution creates the conditions for a Culture of Care and employees must take responsibility for this. You do it together! And there is a lot needed for that. Within the institution, you must make clear agreements with each other, ensure mutual trust and recognize each other's expertise, skills and experiences. Provide willingness to listen to each other, separate from ranks and stands, and learn from each other. Also from mistakes! So also ensure active knowledge exchange, for example about best practices, but also about unexpected or negative research results.

Culture of Care starts with qualified and skillful employees

Realizing a Culture of Care is only possible with well-trained employees who know how to take responsibility. That is why it is very important to ensure qualified and skillful employees, the law also prescribes that.

In the Netherlands, the quality is quite high, but make sure you guarantee it, by means of continued and refresher training, and by registering this. Preferably as uniform as possible, for the sake of recognizability and also to facilitate the exchange of employees. According to the Dutch Experiments on Animals Act, every research institution / breeder or user of experimental animals must have a 'Designated Competency Officer', who keeps track of the education and continuing professional development of the employees. Often that person is part of the institute’s Animal Welfare Body.

Culture of Care must be visible and measurable

Whether a Culture of Care is taking shape in the research institute should be reflected in the way in which the animals are looked after. Not only through appropriate treatment and care (nutrition, support of normal behavior, biotechnical skills) and through the application and active promotion of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement (3Rs). But also in the way the institution has secured it. For example in quality guidelines such as GLP and GMP. Ensuring an appropriate culture of care in the research institute is good for the welfare of the animals, the quality of the research. And it is also nice to be able to work in this way. After all, importance is attached to what individual employees are good at; optimal care and treatment of the animals.

'If you work with laboratory animals, you will never be finished with your training! New developments within animal research are going fast. Keep your knowledge up-to-date.’  Jan van der Valk (3R’s Centre ULS (Utrecht Life Sciences))

Download the Guide to Continuing Professional Development in animal experimentation

By using the Guide to Continuing Professional Development in animal experimentation you know where you stand and you can see which courses you can follow to work well according to Culture of Care. There is a Dutch and English version, combined within a single pdf document. Download the Guide to Continuing Professional Development in animal experimentation.

'The Guide to Continuing Professional Development in animal experimentation automatically leads many people to ask where the various (external) training courses and courses can be found. That is not centrally regulated yet. It will be the next step: a digital portal where you can find all options. We are working on it from the Dutch Platform of Animal Welfare Bodies.’ Pieter Verbost (IvD-Platform)