What are non-animal alternatives and why are they needed?

In some university courses, animals and their tissues are used to demonstrate concepts of physiology and anatomy. A non-animal alternative is, for example, an anatomical model or virtual computer simulation, used to achieve the same learning objectives. These alternatives are needed for students who want to take the course but who do not wish to use animals in their learning for a number of personal, religious or moral reasons.

Also, in keeping with the internationally accepted “Three Rs principles”, animals must be replaced in teaching if adequate non-animal alternatives exist. This website has been curated to provide information on relevant non-animal alternatives for current courses at UBC in the faculties of Science and Land and Food Systems that use animals.

An independent research project was carried out to help support the implementation of non-aninal alternatives in undergraduate education at the University of British Columbia (UBC). UBC states that students have the right to opt-out of using animals or their tissues in their courses, but both students and instructors may not be aware of the resources to find alternatives that meet their learning needs.

The project that culminated in the development of this web resource involved one-on-one engagement with several UBC lab instructors and over 200 UBC undergraduate students. We are grateful for the participation of both the instructors and students.

Financial support for the development of this resource was provided by: the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA), and the British Columbia Foundation for Non-Animal Research (BCFNAR).

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