An essential factor in the protection of the welfare of animals used for experimental and other scientific and teaching purposes is the appropriate training of the personnel responsible for their handling.

This matter is addressed in Article 15 of Royal Decree 53/2013 of 1 February. This article stipulates the general principle that any person that handles experimental animals must have adequate prior training and sets out the basic training requirements that must be in place. It stipulates that the competent bodies are entrusted with ensuring by authorisation or other appropriate means that staff have the necessary qualifications to carry out different tasks. In addition, it establishes that personnel training may have a modular structure based, where applicable, on EU guidelines, directives or recommendations. Furthermore, the minimum training requirements must be indicated in learning outcomes, and personnel training shall be recognised throughout the national territory.

The training requirements to be met by personnel handling animals used, bred or supplied for experimental and other scientific purposes, including teaching, are set out in Order ECC/566/2015 of 20 March 2015.

The competent bodies of each autonomous community are responsible for certifying training for the exercise of each function by means of issuing a qualification certificate that authorises the independent performance of these functions, which shall be valid throughout the national territory.

For this purpose, the competent bodies for the recognition of training must notify the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities of approved training courses within three months of approval (Article 18.4 of Order ECC/566/2015). For this purpose, they must submit a course data form. The recognition of training courses and their corresponding diplomas shall be valid throughout the national territory.

Furthermore, the competent bodies must maintain a register of personnel with recognised training.


The European ETPLAS (Education and Training Platform for Laboratory Animal Science) platform has created a series of virtual training modules for personnel working with free experimental animals with European Union funding.

These resources can be accessed on their website (

The current and future training modules available on the platform are additional tools that may be considered for integration into the initial and ongoing training programmes required for personnel working with experimental animals. Under no circumstances would completing the modules without further training qualify the user to work with experimental animals.

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