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Culture of Care and Communication - The Key to Success

The so-called culture of care is a term commonly used in the field of laboratory animals. The aim of a culture of care is to ensure maximum animal welfare on the one hand and harmonious interaction among all employees in a project on the other. Both factors equally influence the output of the research and are therefore indispensable to ensure high quality and reproducibility. In addition to a moral obligation to ensure a climate of care, there is also a legal requirement, Directive 2010/63/EU, which requires an animal welfare body, which must be established in facilities of breeders, suppliers and users, to, among other things, promote a "climate of care" and to act according to principles of "replacement, refinement and reduction".1

Probably the most important key factor in ensuring a culture of care is communication, which must occur between all persons involved in the animal experiment. Everyone must have the right and opportunity to express personal impressions, ideas, criticisms, and other concerns. A suitable basis for communication ensures a good working atmosphere and thus ensures both animal welfare and the high quality of the research. There are different ways of communication, which can take place e.g. in regular meetings and special events like symposia. Involving scientists, animal caretakers, technicians, veterinarians and other project staff, ideas and information can be exchanged. To create a good communication climate, there should also be room for criticism, which can be delivered anonymously in mailboxes or boxes, for example.2

To support the implementation of a culture of care, there is a network consisting of groups of people from various professions, such as laboratory animal veterinarians, animal care technicians, members from the animal welfare sector and communication experts. The so-called International Culture of Care Network provides a variety of publications and other information material. A list of various resources can be found under the following link.3


The following two posters by members of the Culture of Care Network provide a brief overview of the Culture of Care:


Poster from Penny Hawkins und Juliet Dukes, RSPCA


Poster from the annual UFAW conference (29. – 30. June 2021)


1) https://norecopa.no/more-resources/culture-of-care/, access on 14.03.2023
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2010:276:0033:0079:de:PDF, access on 14.03.2023
2) Hawkins, Penny. (2018). Communication and the Culture of Care: a sheet produced by the Culture of Care Network to facilitate better communication between scientists and animal technologists. 10.13140/RG.2.2.33865.80481.
3) https://norecopa.no/more-resources/culture-of-care/, access on 14.03.2023

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Biomodellen (The 3R Society)
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