A number of professional organizations exist that can serve as initial contacts for obtaining information regarding specific issues about the care and use of laboratory ferrets. Membership in these organizations should be considered, since it allows the laboratory animal science professional to stay abreast of regulatory issues, improved procedures in the use of animals, management issues, and animal health issues. Relevant organizations include the following:
American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS), www.aalas.org, serves a diverse professional group, ranging from principal investigators and animal care technicians to veterinarians. The journals Comparative Medicine and Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science are both published by AALAS and serve to communicate relevant information. AALAS sponsors a program for certification of laboratory animal science professionals at three levels: assistant laboratory animal technician (ALAT), laboratory animal technician (LAT), and laboratory animal technologist (LATG). Further, a certification program for managers of animal resource programs has been developed. An
science. The association also sponsors an annual meeting and several electronic listserves, including TechLink for animal technicians, CompMed for professionals working in comparative medicine and biomedical research, and the IACUC Forum for IACUC members and staff. Local groups have also organized into smaller branches.