Laboratory Animal Science

Aim of the course

The participant has a critical and analytical attitude towards the scientific knowledge underlying Laboratory Animal Science related activities.

The course includes the following topics:

  • Introduction
  • Biology and husbandry of laboratory animals
  • Diseases
  • Statistics
  • Alternatives
  • Ethical aspects
  • Legislation
  • Welfare

The course is offered as a block program. During the course, lectures and hands-on workshops alternate with demonstrations, videos and discussions. The multidisciplinary nature of the course requires the participation of lecturers from several disciplines. Specialists of other departments (e.g. pathology; legislation; alternatives) participate as lecturers. The staff is encouraged to prepare problem-based learning programs and to organize workshops for the discussion of these topics. The hands-on workshops deal with proper handling and restraining techniques for the common laboratory animal species.

The theoretical part of the course is covered by a multi-author textbook: L.F.M. van Zutphen, V. Baumans and A.C. Beynen (eds.), 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. This book will be available during the course. In addition, videos and interactive computer-based learning programs are being used to replace live animals.

Participants, who successfully passed the course:

  • possess the necessary knowledge for responsible animal handling and also obtained some practical experience in this respect;
  • have knowledge of the possible impact of environmental and procedural factors on experimental results;
  • have knowledge of the impact of diseases in laboratory animals on the experimental approach and knows about possible health monitoring;
  • know about safety aspects and occupational health when working with laboratory animals;
  • know about the specific demands that are necessary for a correct preparation and performance of animal experimental techniques and research;
  • know the possibilities that statistics can offer to optimize the use of laboratory animals;
  • know about the possibilities and limitations of alternative techniques;
  • are familiar with legislation concerning the use of laboratory animals;
  • know about basic principles, which guide towards the ethical judgement of animal experiments.

Coordinator: Dr. Esther Langen

Dr. S.S. Arndt, DASS, Utrecht University
Dr. H. Boleij, DASS, Utrecht University
Dr. J.E. Rofina, Pathology, Utrecht University
Drs. D. Weijers, Proefdiervrij
Dr. I. Tiebosch, animal welfare officer, Utrecht
Dr. P. van Loo, animal welfare officer, Utrecht
Dr. H. van Lith, DASS, Utrecht University
Dr. J. Nieuwland, DASS/Ethic Institute, Utrecht University
Dr. J. van der Valk, DASS, Utrecht University
Dr E. Langen, DASS, Utrecht University
Dr V. Goerlich, DASS, University Utrecht
Drs J. van Ravenswaaij, Animal protection Org.
Dr. K. Vaessen, veterinarian GDL, University Utrecht

The course will be concluded by a written exam in the week after the lectures.

Introductory course in Laboratory Animal Science for toxicologists not personally involved in animal experimentation.

Not all toxicologists will be actively performing animal experiments. However, basic knowledge of Laboratory Animal Science is generally required for toxicologists. Therefore, an introductory course in Laboratory Animal Science is a compulsory part of the PET program.
The PET offers a one-week introductory course organized by the Department of Animals in Science and Society (DASS) of Utrecht University tailored for candidates who expect not to become actively involved in animal experiments.
Those who expect to get actively involved in animal experiments should take the two-week course Introduction to Laboratory Animal Science. This course is part of the requirements of the Dutch Law on Animal Experimentation (article 9) and is exclusively offered by the Department of Animals in Science and Society of Utrecht University. Further details on this so-called ‘article 9 course’ can be found on the Department’s websites:

English pages:
Dutch pages:
Species specific courses:

Please note that the course can be cancelled up to one month before its starting date, when the number of applications is below the minimum required. For general inquiries please contact the PET Office.

Legal and Regulatory Toxicology