LABORATORY animals are considered to be an 'obscure' specialist area by many veterinary surgeons, despite the fact that the knowledge they apply in their daily work and all of the medicines they use depend on research or testing using laboratory animals. The employment of veterinary surgeons in research is a well known aspect of the profession. Less well known is the contribution made by veterinarians as toxicological pathologists, assessing the effects of new chemicals and pharmaceuticals on laboratory animals used in safety testing. But the most important contribution of the profession is as advisers on laboratory animal welfare and health. The British Laboratory Animals Veterinary Association (BLAVA) is a specialist division of the BVA dedicated to representing and educating the profession in this area. Since 1986 every research institute has had to employ a named veterinary surgeon to advise on the health and welfare of these animals and BLAVA has therefore grown to over 200 members. In this paper BLAVA sets out its vision of how undergraduate education could meet this challenge.