Preface

Most of our knowledge in physiology, microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, and pathology has been derived from studies of animals — from studies of genetics in fruit flies to studies of life-threatening infections in nonhuman primates. Biomedical research involving animals remains essential for the advancement of the medical, veterinary, agricultural, and biological sciences. All drugs prescribed for use in humans and animals have been developed and tested in laboratory animals. And, new surgical techniques and materials are developed and tested in animals before they are accepted for humans or domestic animals.

In 1959, W.M.S. Russell and R.L. Burch published their famous book on humane experimental technique. The scientist should aim at replacing experiments on live animals with alternative methods whenever possible, reduce the number of animals needed to obtain valid results within each experiment, and refine techniques to reduce the discomfort to the animals used. The three Rs, replacement, reduction and refinement, have since become the cornerstones of laboratory animal science, and the concept has been integrated in numerous laws and guidelines regulating the use of animals in research.

Efficient and humane use of animals in animal experiments requires skillful and conscientious staff, including specialist veterinarians. In many parts of the world, the authorities require that all staff working with laboratory animals must have competence obtained through formal teaching and training programs. Many universities have established mandatory courses for scientists who wish to use animals in their research, and some universities have specialist educations, often masters' courses, for staff training for laboratory animal specialist competence. In the United States and Japan as well as in Europe, laboratory animal medicine is now a recognized veterinary specialty.

This handbook is a thoroughly revised second edition of the handbook first published in 1994 and edited by Per Svendsen and Jann Hau. Per Svendsen has since retired from the University of Odense in Denmark and spends a good deal of his time flying his airplanes and traveling to far away places. Thus, he did not wish to use the considerable time necessary for co-editing a revised version of the handbook.

Jann Hau and his old friend and colleague Gerald Van Hoosier in Seattle thus decided to join forces and prepare a new and completely revised and updated handbook in laboratory animal science. Most of the chapters in the first edition of the book were written by Scandinavian and European experts. With the complete revision of the book, the editors broadened the faculty of authors and included many eminent experts, in particular from North America. The editors wish to thank all of the authors for their valuable contributions and also many anonymous colleagues for their valuable assistance as reviewers of the texts. The individual chapters focus on an important subdiscipline of laboratory animal science, and the chapters can be read and used as stand-alone texts without the necessity of consulting other chapters for information. This approach has resulted in a slight overlap of the contents of certain chapters, but the editors feel that this was a small price to pay in order to make the book as user friendly as possible.

It is our hope that this handbook will be useful all over the world as a course book on laboratory animal science courses for postgraduate and undergraduate students and as a useful handbook for scientists using animals in their research, university veterinarians, and other specialists in laboratory animal science.

Jann Hau Gerald Van Hoosier

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