Hindrances could include the following: some teachers are resistant to change, alternatives require the investment of time and money, information is not widely disseminated, and the quality of available material varies. Also, when integrating new models into an existing curriculum, dealing with students who feel cheated at losing contact with animals can become an issue as well.
Alternatives in Veterinary Medical Education
In the past it was believed that, because the 3Rs originated in the use of laboratory animals for research and testing and not in knowledge and skills acquisition, that they were not appropriate for veterinary medical education. However, over time the 3Rs—Reduction, Refinement, and Replacement—have been widely accepted in many different areas and have proven applicable to include veterinary medicine as well.
Yes, with alternatives in education each new wave of veterinary students can achieve the same high level of proficiency and high-quality learning environment expected from traditional educational approaches.
Alternatives in education help better promote the welfare of animals by substituting animals with non-animal methods that can provide identical learning experiences. Such examples include models, mannequins, and stimulators as well as neutral and/or beneficial animal work instead of procedures that are harmful to animals. These alternatives ensure consideration for all aspects of animal wellbeing.
To create the best quality education, ideally supported by validation of the efficacy of particular educational tools and approaches, while ensuring that animals are not used harmfully and that respect for animal life is engendered within the student.