Alternatives across Latin America: catalysing change in the curriculum.
A 6-week series of seminars addressing replacement of harmful animal use in education and training was held across Latin America in March-April 2008. Organised by InterNICHE and partner organisations in Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, the events built on the experience of previous major outreach in Russia and India. Up to 6 full-day seminars were held at universities and independent venues in each country. Smaller meetings with campaigners, teachers and professional bodies complemented the large presentations. All events included spoken presentations, demonstrations and free trials of a wide range of alternatives. Speakers included InterNICHE experts and those from the host countries who are involved in replacement work. Partner organisations were empowered through the process of planning and execution of the seminars, and the tour helped to identify and provide support to others who are progressing humane education initiatives. Further collaboration is now planned. Information on the current situation concerning animal use and alternatives, including laws and regulations, was also gathered from each country. The tour succeeded in raising awareness and generating interest in replacement alternatives, also by national-level interviews and media coverage. Information and freeware alternatives were widely distributed, and further translations of material into Spanish and Portuguese are in progress. To continue the hands-on access to alternatives provided at the seminars, a Mexican / Central American Alternatives Loan System has been established, and others are being built in Peru and Brasil. The donation of computers and alternatives to selected universities is also being planned in order to establish multimedia laboratories that will promote alternatives through example.