50 shades of ..mice

If you have read the book, please restrict your imagination about my post..:P Coming to Sweden I knew that one of my projects would involve animal work. What I did not know, was all the necessary steps I had to follow in order to be able to work with these little cute creatures. Needless to say, I thought everything would be relatively easy. I would be briefly informed about legislation and humane treatment of rodents. I would get access to the animal facility and then I would start working. Piece of cake..in my mind…It turned out that things were a bit more ‘challenging’ let’s say. If you plan to include animal experiments in your work, you need to know:

50 shades of mice

1. Sweden rules (or maybe Swedish rules..)..!
The regulation on Animal research is quite strict. Both Swedish and EU legislation apply for Animal welfare. There is also an Animal Welfare Body at Karolinska Institutet that strengthens the protection for animals used for scientific purposes.

2. Are you sure you are ‘ethical’ enough?
In addition to #1, all your animal experiments must be evaluated and approved by a regional ethical committee. What is quite challenging is the fact that these committees consist of not only scientists, but also representatives of the general public, whose role is to weigh the impact of experiments on the animals, against the benefits of research. Thus, don’t be surprised if you need to answer a question like:
”Will you apply a cream after the injection ?”
Hmmm, the fact that my doctor never applied a cream on my hand after taking blood sample from me, makes me wonder…You can find more information on ethical evaluation here.

3. You have to take a course.
Before entering the Animal facility, no matter your previous experience, it is mandatory for you to be trained. That means that if you want to work or conduct research with laboratory animals at Karolinska Institutet you need to take the course ”Laboratory Animal Science for implementers of animal testing – small rodents and lagomorpha”. And you might think: ”Rabbits? But I don’t work with rabbits…”. Sorry, but expect for mice and other rodents, rabbits are also included in this course. The course consists of a theoretical, web-based part as well as a practical part. That means that if you have previous experience the practical part will be relatively easy. You must pass both parts of the course.
Helpful tip: Patience is virtue…

All in all, animal research in Karolinska Institutet requires some serious preparation. However, all the personnel (from secretary to Chief), including animal technicians and veterinarians, are very cooperative and willing to help you. And then you can do your research. 🙂

If you need to know more about animal research in Karolinska Institutet you can read here.

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