EZO-32303 Laboratory Animal Science: Design and Ethics in Animal Experimentation


Credits 3.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work4
Course coordinator(s)A Terlouw
Lecturer(s)A Terlouw
dr. ir. JW Schrama
dr. EJ Bakker
drs. RJM Steenmans
Examiner(s)drs. RJM Steenmans

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

The applicant shall have acquired knowledge on the basic subjects of biology up to 18.75 credits (= 500 study hours) including at least 7.5 credits on anatomy/zoology and 7.5 credits on physiology. These terms of admission are in accordance with the formal requirements of the Dutch responsible authority. Successfully passing e.g. EZO-10306 Human and Animal Biology I and HAP-20306 Human and Animal Biology, part 2 and EZO-31306 Vertebrate Structure and Function; meets these requirements. Only master students can enroll.


Note: This course has a maximum number of participants. The deadline for registration is one week earlier than usual. See Academic Year.(http://www.wur.nl/en/Education-Programmes/Current-Students/Agenda-Calendar-Academic-Year.htm) -> Registration for Courses.
The objective of this course is to present basic facts and principles that are essential for the humane use and care of laboratory animals and for the quality of research. Technical and methodological aspects of the design and implementation of animal experiments will be discussed, with ethics, animal welfare and alternatives to the use of laboratory animals as central themes in this course. Only basic skills and expertise may be expected from this course, due to its restricted size and scope. Dutch law requires that animal experimentation is carried out by properly trained people. For researchers this implies that in addition to this basic course they have to take an animal species specific course. After this you will be competent to design procedures and projects and to execute simple procedures on these animals (so called'art 9 qualified'). The course has a maximum of 40 participants, including a maximum of 5 PhD or post doc students.
If the participant has met all legal requirements (knowledge in biology and physiology, and 100 % attendance in all lectures and practical's) and has successfully passed the exam at the end of the course, the participant will receive the basic course certificate.

Learning outcomes:

The participant has a critical and analytical attitude towards the scientific knowledge underlying Laboratory Animal Science related activities. The participant demonstrates the ability to assess her/his scientifically based knowledge and skills. From a participant, who successfully passed the course, one can expect that he/she:
- is familiar with legislation concerning the use of laboratory animals;
- knows about basic principles, which guide towards the ethical judgment of animal experiments;
- knows about the possibilities and limitations of alternative techniques;
- has knowledge of the requirements of laboratory animals with respect to housing, nutrition and care;
- have taken note of the different methods for the collection of body fluids, and some other frequently used experimental techniques;
- possesses the knowledge to recognize pain as well as discomfort in laboratory animals and to define humane end points;
- has knowledge of the most important methods of anesthesia, analgesia and euthanasia, which can be used in various laboratory animal species;
- has knowledge of the possible impact of environmental and procedural factors on experimental results;
- has knowledge of the importance of hygienic measures and barrier systems;
- has knowledge of the impact of diseases in laboratory animals on the experimental approach and knows about possible health monitoring;
- knows about the specific demands that are necessary for a correct preparation and performance of animal experimental techniques and research;
- knows the possibilities that statistics can offer to optimize the use of laboratory animals;
- has knowledge of literature search methods, a.o. meta-analysis and synthesis of evidence, for example systematic reviews


- compulsory participation to lectures and practical class;
- active participation to project learning and literature study.


- written test with 7-9 open questions with several sub questions, and 4-14 multiple choice questions (75 %);
- two group assignments (25%).
The minimum mark for the written test is 5.5 and for the assignments 5.0.


A study guide, synopsis of lecturers, handouts of recent papers and handouts for laboratory class work.
The course textbook in Dutch (less expensive than English copy):
Zutphen, L.F.M. van, V. Baumans & F.Ohl. (2009). Handboek Proefdierkunde. proefdieren, dierproeven, alternatieven en ethiek. Uitgeverij Elsevier gezondheidszorg, Maarssen. Vijfde druk. ISBN 9789035229815.
The course textbook in English:
Zutphen, L.F.M. van, Baumans, V. & Beynen, A.C. (2001). Principles of Laboratory Animal Science: A contribution to the humane use and care of animals and the quality of experimental results. Elsevier Science Publishers, Amsterdam, 2nd ed. revised. ISBN-13: 978-0444506122.

Restricted Optional for: MBIBiologyMSc4AF
MASAnimal SciencesMSc4AF, 6AF
MNHNutrition and HealthMScC: Molecular Nutrition and Toxicology4AF, 6AF
MAMAquaculture and Marine Resource ManagementMSc4AF, 6AF