Vol 20 No 1 April 2021
IAT Journal
Animal Technology
and Welfare
ISSN 2752-3918
Offi cial Journal of the Institute of Animal Technology
and European Federation of Animal Technologists
Hand-sanitiser: is it affecting mouse behaviour?
RSPCA 2020 Rodent welfare report
Emotional challenges in our work
LASA/RSPCA Guiding principles

1
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
Editorial
Jas Barley
Guest Editorial
Vicky Robinson
Handling mice using gloves sprayed with
alcohol-based hand sanitiser: acute effects
on mouse behaviour
Noelia Lopez-Salesansky, Dominic J Wells, Natalie
Chancellor, Lucy Whitfi eld and Charlotte C Burn
Report of the 2020 RSPCA/UFAW rodent and
rabbit welfare meeting
Chloe Stevens, Penny Hawkins, Tom V Smulders,
Aileen Maclelan, Lars Lewejohann, Paulin Jirkof,
Jackie Boxall, Helen Murphy, Carley M Moody,
Patricia V Turner, I J Makowska and Charlotte Inman
Emotional challenges in our work with laboratory animals: tools that support
caring for others and yourself
Angela Kerton and Jordi L Tremoleda
Husbandry and healthcare of the Olive python (Liasis olivaceus)
Gary Martinic
PAPER SUMMARY TRANSLATIONS
French, German, Italian, Spanish
LASA, RSPCA guiding principles to help deliver the ethics learning outcomes of
module 2 for personal licensees
M Jennings and M Berdoy (editors), A-M Farmer, P Hawkins, E Lilley, A Kerton,
B Law, Jordi L Tremoleda, C Stanford, L Whitfi eld and K Ryder
TECH-2-TECH
ASRU-RSU workshop: impact of COVID-19 on present and future training for animal
research – issues and opportunities for training and CPD in light of COVID-19
Linda Horan and Ngaire Dennison
BOOK REVIEWS
Index to Advertisers
21
44
81
73
51
9
6
Vol 20 No 1 April 2021
Editorial
Jas Barley, Chair of the Editorial Board
Report of the 2019 RSPCA/UFAW Rodent
Welfare Group meeting
Chloe Stevens, Emily Finnegan, Jasmine Clarkson,
Charlotte Burns, Sonia Bains, Colin Gilbert,
Caroline Chadwick, Samantha Izzard, Charlotte Inman,
Penny Hawkins (Secretary) and Huw Golledge
Reduction of the negative effects of
methionine on bone parameters in broilers’
embryos by intra-egg injection of Vitamin B
12
Mohammad Naser Nazem, Shima Tasharofi,
Negin Amiri and Sepideh Sabzekar
The care of the Children’s Python
(Antaresia children)
Alexander Hosking and Gary Martinic
Feline-assisted therapy: a promising part of animal assisted therapy (AAT)
Eliska Mi
č
ková and Krityna Machova
The care of Central and Pygmy Bearded Dragons
Alexander Hosking and Gary Martinic
PAPER SUMMARY TRANSLATIONS
French, German, Italian, Spanish
LOOKING BACK
Physical hazards in the laboratory animal house
R.T. Charles
The incidence of a pathogenic strain of pseudomonas in a rabbit colony
G.R. Alpen and K. Maerz
TECH-2-TECH
Development of a sifting cage change method for rats to improve welfar e
Seonagh Henderson
Vol 1 9 No 2 A ugust 2020
CONTENTS
i
August20:Animal Technology and Welfare 4/8/20 10:48 Page i
11
35
63
4
2
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
3
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
v
OFFICERS
President
Dr Robin Lovell-Badge CBE FRS
Immediate Past President
Professor Sir Richard Gardner MA PhD FRSB
FIAT (Hon) FRS
Vice-Presidents
Senga Allan MIAT RAnTech, David Anderson MRCVS,
Stephen Barnett BA MSc FIAT (Hon) CBiol FRSB
RAnTech, Miles Carroll PhD, Paul Flecknell MA Vet MB
PhD DLAS DipLECVA MRCVS, FIAT (Hon), Penny
Hawkins PhD BSc, Wendy Jarrett MA, Judy MacArthur-
Clark CBE BVMS DLAS FRSB DVMS (h.c.), DipECLAM
FRAgS DipACLAM MRCVS, Fiona McEwen BSc BVM&S
M
Sc MRCVS, Tim Morris BVetMed PhD DipACLAM
DipECLAM CBiol FRSB CertLAS MRCVS, Clive Page
OBE PhD BSc, Jan-Bas Prins PhD MSc, Vicky Robinson
CBE BSc PhD, Paul Sanders MIAT RAnTech, David
Spillane FIAT, Gail Thompson RLATG, Robert
Weichbrod PhD RLATG
Life Members
Ken Applebee OBE FIAT CBiol FRSB RAnTech,
Charlie Chambers MIAT RAnTech, Roger Francis MSc
FIAT RAnTech, Pete Gerson MSc FIAT RAnTech,
Cathy Godfrey FIAT RAnTech, John Gregory BSc (Hons)
FIAT CBiol FRSB RAnTech, P
atrick Hayes FIAT DipBA
RAnTech, Robert Kemp FIAT (Hon) RAnTech,
Phil Ruddock MIAT RAnTech, Ted Wills FIAT (Hon)
RAnTech
Honorary Members
Mark Gardiner MIAT RAnTech, Sarah Lane MSc FIAT,
Sue McHugh BSc FIAT, Norman Mortell BA (Hons)
MIAT RAnTech, Wendy Steel BSc (Hons) FIAT
Members of Council
Matthew Bilton, Kally Booth, Steven Cubitt,
Simon Cumming, Haley Daniels, Glyn Fisher,
Nicky Gent, Alan Graham, Linda Horan, Sam Jameson,
Elaine Kirkum, Adele Kitching, Theresa Langford,
Sylvie Mehigan, Steve Owen, Alan Palmer, Allan
Thornhill, John Waters, Lynda Westall, Car ole W ilson,
Adrian Woodhouse
Council Officers
Chair: Linda Horan BSc (Hons) MIAT RAnTech
Vice Chair: Glyn Fisher FIAT RAnTech
Honorary Secretary:
Simon Cumming BSc FIAT RAnTech
Treasurer: Glyn Fisher FIAT RAnTech
Chair of Board of Educational Policy:
Steven Cubitt MSc FIAT RAnTech
Chair Registration & Accreditation Board:
Glyn Fisher FIAT RAnTech
ATW Editor: Jas Barley MSc FIAT RAnTech
Bulletin Editor: Carole Wilson BSc MIAT
ATW/Bulletin Editorial Board:
Jas Barley (Chair), Matthew Bilton, Nicky Gent,
Patrick Hayes, Elaine Kirkum, Carole Wilson,
Lynda Westall
Branch Liaison Officer:
Kally Booth MIAT RAnTech
EFAT Representatives:
Glyn Fisher, Alan Palmer
Website Coordinator:
Allan Thornhill FIAT RAnTech
Animal Welfare Officers and LABA
Representatives:
Matthew Bilton (Chair), Kally Booth, Lois Byrom,
Simon Cumming, Nicky Gent, Sylvie Mehigan,
John Waters
Board of Educational Policy:
Steven Cubitt (Chair), Adele Kitching (Secretary)
Communications Gr oup:
Adrian Woodhouse (Chair), Elaine Kirkum,
Teresa Langford, Sylvie Mehigan, Allan Thornhill,
Lynda Westall
IAT REPRESENTATIVES
August20:Animal Technology and Welfare 4/2/21 13:19 Page v
4
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
BRANCH SECRETARIES 2021
Cambridge: Tony Davidge cambridgebranch@iat.org.uk
Edinburgh: Kery-Anne Lavin-Thomson edinburghbranch@iat.org.uk
Huntingdon, Suffolk & Norfolk: Jo Martin hssbranch@iat.org.uk
Ireland: Lisa Watson irelandbranch@iat.org.uk
London: Rebecca Towns londonbranch@iat.org.uk
Midlands: Ian Fielding midlandsbranch@iat.org.uk
North East England: Zoe Smith and John Bland northeastbranch@iat.org.uk
North West: Nicky Windows cheshirebranch@iat.org.uk
Oxford: Adam Truby oxfordbranch@iat.org.uk
Surrey, Hampshire & Sussex: Francesca Whitmore shsbranch@iat.org.uk
West Middlesex: Josefine Woodley westmiddxbranch@iat.org.uk
Wales & West: Rhys Perry waleswestbranch@iat.org.uk
West of Scotland: Joanne King westscotlandbranch@iat.org.uk
IAT OFFICERS M AY BE
CONTACTED VIA:
IAT Administrator:
admin@iat.org.uk
OR VIA THE IAT WEBSITE AT :
www.iat.org.uk
OR THE REGISTERED OFFICE:
5 South Parade, Summertown,
Oxford OX2 7JL
Advertisement Managers:
PRC Associates Ltd
Email: mail@prcassoc.co.uk
Although every effort is made to ensure that no inaccurate or misleading data, opinion or statement appear in the
journal, the Institute of Animal Technology wish to expound that the data and opinions appearing in the articles,
poster presentations and advertisements in ATW are the responsibility of the contributor and advertiser concerned.
Accordingly the IAT, Editor and their agents, accept no liability whatsoever for the consequences of any such
inaccurate or misleading data, opinion, statement or advertisement being published. Furthermore the opinions
expressed in the journal do not necessarily reflect those of the Editor or the Institute of Animal Technology.
© 2021 Institute of Animal Technology
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission from the publisher.
CPD Officer: Alan Palmer MIAT RAnTech
Registration and Accreditation Board:
Glyn Fisher (Chair), John Gregor y,
Cathy Godfrey, Kathy Ryder (Home Office),
Stuart Stevenson
Observer: Ngaire Dennison (LAVA)
Congress Committee:
Alan Graham (Chair), Haley Daniels, Adele Kitching,
Allan Thornhill, John Waters
Diversity Officer:
Haley Daniels MBA MSc MIAT RAnTech CIPD
UK Biosciences ASG Representative/
Home Office:
Alan Palmer MIAT RAnTech
vi
August20:Animal Technology and Welfare 12/8/20 07:54 Page vi
CPD Officer: Alan Palmer MIAT RAnTech
Registration and Accreditation Board:
Glyn Fisher (Chair), John Gregory,
Cathy Godfrey, Kathy Ryder (Home Office),
Stuart Stevenson
Observer: Ngaire Dennison (LAVA)
Congress Committee:
Alan Graham (Chair), Haley Daniels, Adele Kitching,
Allan Thornhill, John Waters
Diversity Officer:
Haley Daniels MBA MSc MIAT RAnTech CIPD
UK Biosciences ASG Representative/Home Office:
Alan Palmer MIAT RAnTech
Index to Advertisers
AAALAC ..........................................................83
AS-ET .............................................................83
Avid plc ............................................................2
Datesand Ltd .................................................IFC
Institute of Animal Technology
.........
34,42-43, OBC
IPS Product Supplies Ltd ................................IBC
LBS Serving Biotechnology Ltd
...........................5
Somni Scientific ...............................................8
Tecniplast UK Ltd
............................................
10
5
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
Tel: +44 (0)1293 827940
Email: sales@lbs-biotech.com
Contact LBS - your trusted supplier, serving
the needs of the Biotechnology Industry
www.lbs-biotech.com
Enrichment Products
Designed to enhance your research
Our extensive product range gives your research
animals an active, stimulating and comfortable
environment.
DesRes
TM
Rodent Houses
Fun Tunnels
Toys, Balls and Chews
Treats & Rewards
Bedding & Nesting
Foraging
- just some of our quality assured products, suitable
for use in biotechnology conditions.
6
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
August 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
Editorial
Jas Barley
Chair of the Editorial Board
Looking back over issues of the Journal through its various identities, one thing is appar ent and that is the contribution that
overseas authors have made to the content. Topics have varied from dealing with exotic species, lack of sophisticated equipment,
different attitudes to everyday problems, staff training and education and disease outbreaks. However, the resolute that has b
een
constant throughout, despite the differences across the world, is the love and concern for the animals being cared for.
Many include interesting photographs but I unfortunately am unable to use them as the quality of images is so poor when
repr oduced, to the extent in some cases, they become worthless.
Obviously, things have changed over seven decades and the technology described in contributions from overseas is less different
from what we use in the UK. This issue w
elcomes contributions from Australia, the Czech Republic and Iran as well, of course
from the UK. Since ATW became an Open Access publication and is being published electronically, it is enjoying a wider audience
and is attracting mor e contributions than usual. Not all are relevant to our profession, but knowledge is transferable so what
seems ‘off beat’ today may become useful in the future. However, as Editor I will always strive to maintain the quality of our
publications a
nd the usefulness to our readers.
In this issue we include the RSPCA 2019 Rodent and Rabbit Welfare group meeting report. The 26th meeting that the RSPCA have
organised focussed on ‘sentience, positive welfare and psychological well being’. The repor t contains contributions from 11
presenters as well as notes on the interactive discussion session on sentience that closed the meeting.
A paper from Iran, a first as far as I can see for the Journal, on reducing the negative e
ffects of methionine on bone parameters
in broilers’ embryos may seem of little relevance but it offers a better understanding of how methionine affects bone structure
which is important to most species. Similarly, Feline Assisted Therapy as described by the team at the University of Life Sciences
Prague does not appear to fall into the r ealms of Animal Technology but it gives us a better understanding of how animals can have
a positive effect on some people, which in the current situation may be of significant benefit to a wider population. Our final paper
from the team at Western Sydney University, details the care of the Children’ Python and two species of Bearded Dragons. Not
perhaps the run of the mill laboratory animals but just as important to many Animal Technologists globally as mice and rats. If you
keep reptiles at home or know of someone who is contemplating one as a pet these papers make useful reference documents. We
also offer two papers from previous issues of the Journal which were very different in appearance and content than today’s Journal
of Animal Technology and Welfare and not only because of the change of title. Issues were printed in black and white and in the very
early days were produced by hand. The paper from France on Physical Hazards in the laboratory animal house will bring back many
memories for some of the older technicians, myself included, but not necessarily good ones. The use of ether as an anaesthetic
which I know is still used in some countries where resources are limited, for human surgery, presented a very real danger to both
animals and staff. Disease in laboratory animal units was often a recurring problem, bacterial infections such as Pseudomonas as
described in the reprint of the article were still presenting Animal Technologists with problems as late as the end of the 1980s. When
importing animals and tissues from overseas it is important to realise that they may be carrying disease not seen in the UK for
several decades. In recent times, Ectromelia was introduced into a unit in the USA via antibodies produced overseas. Precautions
must be taken until such time as you are sure that the animals and tissues are clear of any underlying infections.
We a
re also able to offer in this issue an interesting Tech-2-Tech article by Seonagh Henderson of the University of Glasgow, on
a novel technique of cage cleaning which has
a p
ositive effect on the welfare of laborator y rats. Finally, we included several posters
prepared for AST2020 but sadly at the moment remain unpresented.
Thanks again to all of our authors, past and pr esent, both internationally and here in the UK. There would not have been 70 years
of the Journal without you. Here is to the next seven decades and beyond.
THE INSTITUTE OF ANIMAL TECHNOLOGY
ETHICAL STATEMENT
“In the conduct of their Professional duties, Animal Technologists have a moral and legal
obligation, at all times, to promote and safeguard the welfare of animals in their care,
recognising that good laboratory animal welfare is an essential component of good
laboratory animal technology and science.
The Institute recognises and supports the application of the principles of the 3Rs
(Replacement, Reduction, Refinement) in all areas of animal research.”
ix
August20:Animal Technology and Welfare 12/8/20 07:54 Page ix
Animal Technology and Welfare April 2021
Welcome to the first issue of 2021 and the 71st year of the formation of the first professional association of what we
know today as Animal Technologists.
As always, the Institute of Animal Technology (IAT) is quick to respond to a changing world and following the difficult
year the world has experienced due to the advent of COVID-19 and the consequential disruption to what we consider
normal life. Just as it has adapted to changes in requirements of our industry, the IAT has innovated, introducing
virtual meetings of Council so that the ‘business’ of the IAT can continue, allowing Council to protect members’
interests, in addition online interviews for Registered Animal Technician (RAnTech) status are amongst many other
adaptations. By the time you read this issue of Animal Technology and Welfare (ATW) we will have held our first virtual
Congress which gave access to many more delegates including those outside the British Isles who in the past may
not have been able to attend a physical Congress. Over the course of this year’s volume of ATW I hope to bring you
papers from Congress along with workshop reports and the usual Congress posters.
The change of ATW to an electronic Journal has attracted more contributions from the wider scientific community. Some
of these have dealt with issues that are outside our regular sphere of interest and in these instances the authors,
following peer review, have been directed to other publications. Other submissions deal with topics that we would
not recognise as obvious Animal Technology perhaps because of the unusual species involved or because the cover
problems that do affect us. However, they do deal with animal welfare and/or technology and offer an insight into what
working with animals may involve in the wider world. Consequently, a new special interest section will be introduced in
this volume, the papers and articles included are certainly interesting and hopefully help those readers who are not
working with the standard laboratory species or facing problems that may be unique to their situation. Formal papers
will be peer reviewed as usual but I hope that we will also be able to include informal material such as Tech-2-Tech
and opinion articles about areas of interest that many of us will be less familiar with. Posters are always welcome
but if they have been exhibited elsewhere please ensure you send details of the meeting organisers so that checks
can be made regarding copyright and that appropriate acknowledgement is made to the original meeting. Included in
this issue I am delighted to publish a guest editorial from Vicky Robinson, chief executive of the National Centre for
the Replacement, Reduction and Refinement for Animals in Research (NC3Rs). In her editorial Vicky acknowledges
the role of Animal Technologists especially during the COVID-19 crisis and the impact it has made on them. Vicky
also mentions the award of Outstanding Technician of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards recepient John
Waters for his work on refining the way mice are handled to reduce the stress they experience. John’s paper was
reprinted in the December 2020 (v19.3) issue of Animal Technology and Welfare (ATW) and I would recommend that
if you are familiar with John’s work, that you read it as soon as possible. Several years of back issues of ATW are
available on the Journals website www.atwjournal,com.
Handling of mice also features in a paper from the team at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) discussing how hand sanitiser
on gloves may be affecting mouse behaviour. This is obviously important given the increased used of hand disinfectants
during the COVID-19 pandemic especially as handling mice is such a fundamental part of Animal Technology. The impact
of COVID-19 is also considered in the paper from Angela and Jordi Lopez-Tremoleda but this time it is the emotional
consequences on Animal Technologists and what we can do to support Animal Technologists that are dealt with.
Editorial
Jas Barley
Chair of the Editorial Board
7
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
Another useful paper on reptiles from Gary Martinic at Western Sydney University, this time regarding the husbandry
of Olive pythons is featured in this issue. Although reptiles are not everyday animals in a majority of facilities, they are
used both in the UK and around the world. The Institute has recently given its permission for Gary’s previous articles
concerning reptiles to be reproduced by The Macarthur Herpetological Society, so ATW is now communicating ‘good’
practice to both professional and amateur herpetologists alike.
Guiding principles to help the delivery of ethics to personal licensees have been reprinted with the permission of
the Laboratory Animal Science Association and the RSPCA. They will be helpful to all involved in training personal
licensees but obviously Named Training and Competency Officers (NTCO) will be particularly interested as will anyone
involved in licensee training. Training and COVID-19 are also featured in the Tech-2-Tech article by Linda Horan and
Ngaire Dennison, based on a workshop presented to the Royal Society of Biology Animal Science Group and the
Home Office Animals in Science Regulation Unit. Thought provoking with several very practical suggestions as how to
overcome with social distancing needed due to the risks presented by COVID-19.
I never intended that this issue would feature so much relating to COVID-19 but given the enormity of the pandemic
it is very reassuring that people are addressing the problems arising from the virus both in relation to animal welfare
and also the welfare of the humans working with them.
Editorial
8
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
WASTE ANAESTHETIC
GAS EXPOSURE?
Get Active.
UPDATE YOUR SYSTEM WITH ACTIVE
UPDATE YOUR SYSTEM WITH ACTIVE
SCAVENGING, EASILY ADDED TO YOUR
SCAVENGING, EASILY ADDED TO YOUR
CURRENT SYSTEM.
SOMNI EPS-3
Active Induction Chamber
Active Uni-Flow Nosecone
enquiries@somniscientific.com www.somniscientific.co.uk
SOMNI
Scientific
provides
service,
safety
and
product solutions
for all
your inhalant anesthetic needs.
SOMNI PROVIDES UNPARALLELED CUSTOMER SERVICE, CLINICAL AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT.
9
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
It really goes without saying what a challenging year, personally and professionally, 2020 was for so many people as a
result of the COVID-19 pandemic. When I look back though, one thing that stood out was the essential role of Animal
Technologists up and down the country at a time of crisis.
Diffi cult decisions had to be made last March (and then again for subsequent lockdowns) about the continuation of in
vivo studies and maintenance of breeding colonies. Many Animal Technicians continued to go to work to make sure
that the animals in their care remained a priority, at a time when many of us had the safety of being able to work from
home. Technicians were required to cull large numbers of animals because of concerns about contingencies in the
case of a lack of staff to provide care. A love of animals is why most technicians enter the profession and I know from
talking to many over the years how traumatic this part of their role can be and specifi cally the emotional distress that
the cull as a result of the pandemic caused. There are lots of resources provided by the IAT and other organisations
to help manage and address ‘compassion fatigue’ and I would strongly urge you to use them.
But 2020 was not all bad and there was a real boost for the technician community when in November John Waters
a senior Animal Technologist and Named Animal Care and Welfare Offi cer (NACWO) at the University of Liverpool was
recognised as the Outstanding Technician of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards. The competition was
tough with a shortlist of stellar candidates from across the higher education sector. This is the fi rst time an Animal
Technologist has received this prestigious award and while it is an amazing achievement for John, importantly I think
it is also public recognition for the vital work that Animal Technologists do to champion animal welfare and support
high quality science. John’s work will be familiar to most – the demonstration with Professor Jane Hurst, that picking
mice up by the tail causes aversion and anxiety and that there are better, more refi ned approaches such as using a
tunnel or cupped hands that benefi t the mice as well as minimising the data variability that can compromise studies. I
do not think I am overstating when I say that this is the biggest improvement in laboratory animal welfare in a decade.
I wonder what other welfare innovations will come from the technician community in the next decade.
John has taken a very active role in supporting his fellow technicians nationally and internationally to introduce the
refi ned handling methods. I have been hugely impressed with how many technicians have embraced this simple
refi nement but also disappointed that there has been pushback from some who do not want to change practice
or do not believe the substantial evidence base that supports this welfare improvement. Neither objection seems
reasonable to me, not just thinking about this specifi c example but what it says more broadly about the role of
technicians. The profi le of technicians is now much more visible than perhaps it was 10 or 15 years ago as John’s
award illustrates. And with this comes additional responsibility to champion animal welfare and embrace the latest
opportunities, recognising that knowledge of what animals experience and what matters to them is increasing rapidly
and it needs to be translated into practice.
The role of technicians has evolved signifi cantly, and it is important that this continues and that the sector utilises
the considerable talent of the technician community. Day-to-day care of the animals is the priority but there are also
other ways in which technicians can support best practice in animal research. Many animal experiments are poorly
designed and I am keen to see technicians get involved in helping researchers “blind” their experiments so that the
ndings are robust and animals are not “wasted” in studies that do not provide meaningful data. The NC3Rs has
been running training for technicians on this and we are planning to do more so make sure you sign up to the Tech3Rs
newsletter to fi nd out more.
I have always felt proud to support the technician community and one of the features we have included in Tech3Rs is
a focus on technician champions who have made a real difference to the animals in their care. If you are working on
a refi nement approach you would like us to feature, please get in touch – I would love to hear from you!
Stay safe and thank you for all that you are doing.
Vicky Robinson, Chief Executive, NC3Rs
Guest editorial
Vicky Robinson
National Centre for the Replacement, Refi nement and Reduction of Animals in Research
April 2021 Animal Technology and Welfare
WASTE ANAESTHETIC
GAS EXPOSURE?
Get Active.
SOMNI EPS-3
Active Induction Chamber
Active Uni-Flow Nosecone
SOMNI PROVIDES UNPARALLELED CUSTOMER SERVICE, CLINICAL AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT.
10
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
ISSUE2 - VISION+ - 210X297.indd 1 05/11/2018 18:14:29
find out more on
www.tecniplastuk.com
Or call us on 0345 050 4556
11
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
Abstract
Alcohols are commonly used in laboratory animal
facilities to disinfect hands, equipment and laboratory
environments. The effect on mice is unknown, so we
observed male and female C57BL/6J and BALB/c
mice during and after handling with nitrile gloves that
were either sprayed with 70% alcohol sanitiser (~67%
ethanol, ~3% methanol, and 30% water), or not sprayed.
We hypothesised that, if mice perceived this hand
sanitiser as aversive, its application to gloves before
handling would increase behavioural indicators of fear
or defence; it could also affect social interactions
and grooming. Handling mice with sanitised gloves
increased wall rearing, self-grooming, allogrooming,
sniffing of cagemates and eating/drinking in one or
both strains of mice. In males, it also reduced initial
home-cage aggression, replaced by grooming but it is
unclear whether aggression was truly decreased or
simply delayed. There were no statistically significant
effects of treatment on avoidance behaviours shown
in a hand interaction test. Defensive burying occurred
with both sanitised and control gloves during the first-
hand interaction test and significantly declined over
the 4-week study, suggesting a novelty effect. Findings
indicate that handling mice with alcohol-based hand
sanitiser affects mouse behaviour, including social
interactions, although replication is required because
we could not blind the observer to the treatment. Further
research is required to assess the long-term effects
of using alcohol-based hand-sanitiser and alternative
disinfectants when handling laboratory mice in order to
make recommendations for refinement.
Keywords: animal behaviour; animal welfare; disinfectant;
handling; hygiene; mice
Introduction
To ensure that mice are free from undesirable or
pathogenic microorganisms, laboratory animal units
put in place strict biosecurity practices for example
Shek et al (2015).
1
These procedures vary between
facilities depending on the level of microbiological
exclusion but they generally involve keeping mice
in micro-isolation cages, controlling animal imports
and routinely monitoring the health status of the
colony. Additionally, personal protective equipment is
worn, and consumables, equipment and surfaces are
decontaminated.
2,3
Although these practices are
important to safeguard the health of laboratory
animals, their impact on animal behaviour and welfare
is rarely investigated. Additionally, recent reports
suggest that keeping laboratory animals in extremely
hygienic facilities impairs their immunological response
and compromises the reproducibility and translation of
the results to humans.
4,5
Garner et al (2017)
6
outline
the importance for experimental designs to take
into account animal biology, husbandry, and welfare
(representing three of six key considerations) if research
is to produce valid and reproducible results.
In a survey of 51 UK mouse facilities, 22-30% of
respondents reported using ‘alcohol’ to disinfect a variety
of items such as work surfaces, anaesthetic equipment,
behavioural apparatus and surgical equipment, and
12% specifically reported using it as a hand sanitiser.
3
In that survey, a subset of respondents suggested
that alcohol-based disinfectants caused skin problems
(4/9 respondents) respiratory problems (1/9) and
behaviour changes (1/9) in mice, with 1/9 suggesting
there were no adverse effects. This demonstrates that
some mouse facility staff are concerned by the use of
Handling mice using gloves sprayed with
alcohol-based hand sanitiser:
acute effects on mouse behaviour
NOELIA LOPEZ-SALESANSKY,
1
DOMINIC J WELLS,
1
NATALIE CHANCELLOR,
2
LUCY WHITFIELD,
1
and CHARLOTTE C BURN
2
1
Royal Veterinary College, Royal College Street, London NW1 0TU UK
2
Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA UK
Correspondence: cburn@rvc.ac.uk
April 2021 Animal Technology and Welfare
ISSUE2 - VISION+ - 210X297.indd 1 05/11/2018 18:14:29
find out more on
www.tecniplastuk.com
Or call us on 0345 050 4556
12
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
alcohols as sanitisers. Here, we focus on the acute
behavioural effects of handling mice using alcohol-
based hand sanitiser which usually contains one or
more types of alcohol: ethanol, methanol, isopropanol,
and/or n-propanol. In the authors’ experience of
working in multiple animal facilities in England, it is
common practice to use 70% ethanol hand sanitiser
immediately before handling rodents. Providing alcohol-
based sanitisers has been recommended for use when
handling laboratory animals to help prevent infections,
even when using gloves because gloves are permeable
and can otherwise easily become contaminated.
7
LeMoine and colleagues (2015)
8
found that 48% of non-
sterilised standard nitrile or latex gloves (the two most
common glove types in UK laboratory animal facilities)
3
tested positive for microbial growth after donning;
however, a 30 seconds soak with 70% isopropyl alcohol
reduced microbial contamination to 25%. Keen et al
(2010)
9
also found that using 70% isopropyl alcohol
was significantly more effective at preventing microbial
contamination of gloves during mouse laparotomy than
not using it. However to our knowledge, no research has
been carried out to assess the impact of this practice
on the animals themselves.
In humans, frequent use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers
by health professionals can cause transient, low, but
detectable concentrations of ethanol in the breath, due
to inhalation of the vapour.
10,11
Such use does not seem
to increase alcohol concentrations in the blood,
12
nor
does it appear to detrimentally affect the skin.
11
Overall,
the internal concentrations observed via inhalation and
dermal routes are well within the range of those occurring
with ingestion of non-alcoholic foods, such as fruit juices
or ‘alcohol-free’ beers and are well within safe limits.
13
However oral ingestion of larger doses of alcohol-based
sanitiser can cause intoxication (‘drunkenness’), alcohol
poisoning, coma or even death.
14-16
It is difficult to extrapolate these findings to mice,
especially because of potential species differences
in pharmacology, and in body size; mice are orders
of magnitude smaller than an adult human relative to
the volume of sanitiser likely to be applied to a human
hand. In rodents, effects of alcohol have mainly been
investigated in the context of modelling alcoholism.
Most experiments have thus investigated the effects
of oral ingestion of ethanol but when rodents are
unwilling to ingest it, forced inhalation of ethanol
vapour intermittently over a 2 week period can increase
voluntary consumption of ethanol by rats 2-8h following
withdrawal of the vapour.
17
Oral ingestion of large enough
doses of ethanol by mice can cause ataxia, aggression,
cognitive deficits and other effects consistent with
intoxication and alcoholism in humans for example.
18
This alcoholism-related research has limited relevance
with respect to the effects that alcohol-based sanitiser
could have on mice in applied contexts, for a number
of reasons. Firstly, the quantities that mice are likely
to inhale or ingest after handling by sanitised gloves
are likely to be much lower than those administered to
animals modelling alcoholism. However hand sanitisers
contain much higher concentrations of alcohol (usually
70%) compared with those used in alcoholism research
(10-20%), so it is unclear how the exposure would
compare. Secondly, whilst alcohol-based sanitisers in
the laboratory commonly contain ethanol, this may be
mixed with other alcohols unsuitable for consumption
such as methanol or propanol, or other substances
entirely. Mice
19
and rats
20
are less sensitive to the toxic
effects of methanol than are humans.
20
Nevertheless
relatively high doses of methanol can cause skeletal
and neural defects in rodents exposed as embryos or
juveniles, and chronic methanol ingestion and – to a
lesser extent – inhalation can cause pathology of the
li
ver, pancreas and possibly other organs (reviewed in
21
).
Finally, the route of exposure to hand sanitiser is
complex with inhalation and oral consumption influenced
by factors such as: the amount of product used; the
delay between dispensing the product onto the hand
and handling the mouse; and the animals’ behaviour
following contact (e.g. whether or not they sniff or lick
the product from the hand or their fur).
We thus aimed to investigate whether use of an alcohol-
based hand spray when handling mice has any acute
behavioural effects on the animals in an applied context
with a view to refining husbandry protocols. We
hypothesised that mice handled using gloves sprayed
with 70% alcohol could show differences in behaviour
compared to handling without the sanitiser, indicating
effects on mouse welfare. We used both sexes, and two
strains, of mice to increase external validity of any
findings;
22
C57BL/6 mice will drink ethanol relatively
willingly, whereas BALB/c mice have high avoidance of
it.
18,23,24
We used the ‘cupping’ method of handling, to
follow the example of refined practice and to represent a
handling method that would involve contact between the
hand and the mouse’s body, with relevance to activities such
as health checking, cage-cleaning, or manual restraint.
25
Methods
Animals
We used off-study stock or breeding mice that were
lent by colleagues at the Royal Veterinary College. The
resulting sample comprised 22 cages containing:
Adult C57BL/6J mice aged 20-24 weeks (n = 13
cages: 16 males, two cages holding two mice each
and two cages holding three mice each; 14 females,
four cages holding two mice each and two cages
holding three mice each), and
Adult BALB/c mice aged 9-28 weeks (n = 9 cages:
ten males, five cages holding two mice each and two
cages holding three mice each; 12 females, three
Handling mice using gloves sprayed with alcohol-based sanitiser
13
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
cages holding two mice each and two cages holding
three mice each).
Mice were kept in standard open-top cages (Tecniplast,
32cm x 16cm x 14cm). Cages contained bedding
(Litaspen premium, Datesand Ltd), a cardboard tube
and additional nesting material (Sizzlenest, Datesand
Ltd). Animals had ad libitum access to water and food
(Rat & Mouse # 1 Diet, Special Diet Services) and were
maintained at constant room temperature (~21°C) and
humidity (~45%) and were kept under a regular light/
dark schedule with lights on from 08:00 to 20:00 h (light
= 270 lux). Cage cleaning was carried out by a member
of the animal unit staff once a week on a different day
than behavioural observations were recorded.
Housing and care were in compliance with the Code
of Practice for housing and care of laboratory animals
used in scientific procedures and the experiment
was approved by the Royal Veterinary College Ethical
Committee (URN 2014 1261).
Experimental procedures
Two experimenters (both female) carried out all the
observations in this experiment between 9:00 and
12:00h. Only one of the experimenters (NLS) handled
the animals. We used two treatments representing
realistic husbandry alternatives: handling using nitrile
gloves that were either left unsprayed (Control), or first
sprayed with 70% alcohol (Sanitised). The 70% alcohol
(methylated spirits, Fisher Scientific Ltd
26
) comprised
66-68% ethanol, 2-4% methanol, and 30% distilled
water. A new pair of gloves was used for each cage to
prevent contamination.
The mice in our sample were unlikely to have previously
experienced glove sanitation with alcohol, so 1 week
before the experiment, all mice were gently handled in
cupped hands using alcohol-sanitised gloves, to help
reduce novelty-induced behaviours the following week.
Mice within each cage were then exposed to one of
the treatments per week, alternating them each week
for a period of 4 weeks; mice therefore experienced
both treatments twice during the experimental period.
Testing order was randomly allocated to cages
balancing across strains and sexes (using an online
random number generator), such that half the cages
experienced the sequence: Week 1 = Control, Week 2
= Sanitised, Week 3 = Control, Week 4 = Sanitised;
the other half received the opposite order, starting with
Sanitised in Week 1 and alternating thereafter.
Handling effects were observed in four stages: (1)
Voluntary interaction with the sanitised or control
gloved-hand, similar to the hand interaction test used
by Hurst and West;
25
(2) Handleability during handling;
(3) Voluntary interaction with the hand after handling;
and (4) Home-cagebehaviour both immediately after
returning to the rack and 20 minutes later.
Figure 1. The hand interaction test. This screenshot
shows a C57BL/6J mouse displaying defensive burying
of the hand.
Voluntary interaction with the hand before
handling
Each cage was placed on a bench and aligned such that
an adhesive tape on the bench delineated the cross-
sectional midline of the cage. The cage was opened on
the bench by the non-handling observer, who removed
housing and all nesting material, allowing mice to
habituate for 1 minute before behavioural observations.
After donning a fresh pair of nitrile gloves, the handling
experimenter either sprayed the gloves with 70% alcohol
or left them unsprayed. The experimenter then placed
one hand inside the near corner of the cage and kept it
motionless to allow mice to voluntarily interact (Figure 1;
the other hand was used to write down behavioural
observations). Observations were recorded by both
experimenters for 3 minutes to measure any difference
in approach/avoidance or defensive behaviour towards
the hand.
Handleability
After recording hand interaction, for the sanitised
treatment, the handling experimenter re-sprayed the
glove with the alcohol because many volatiles would have
dissipated during the previous 3 minutes observation. To
mimic normal handling in applied situations, when there
can be little delay between sanitation and handling,
the mouse was then almost immediately lifted using
its home-cage tunnel following re-spraying and loosely
cupped in the hands for 20-30 seconds to measure
handleability. The respraying and handling were repeated
for each mouse in the cage. Cage was the experimental
unit, so all mice within a cage experienced the same
treatment on a given day.
Figure 1. The hand interaction test. This screenshot shows a C57BL/6J mouse displaying defensive
burying of the hand.
Figure 1. The hand interaction test. This screenshot shows a C57BL/6J mouse displaying defensive
burying of the hand.
Figure 1. The hand interaction test. This screenshot shows a C57BL/6J mouse displaying defensive
burying of the hand.
Figure 1. The hand interaction test. This screenshot shows a C57BL/6J mouse displaying defensive
Figure 1. The hand interaction test. This screenshot shows a C57BL/6J mouse displaying defensive
Figure 1. The hand interaction test. This screenshot shows a C57BL/6J mouse displaying defensive
Figure 1. The hand interaction test. This screenshot shows a C57BL/6J mouse displaying defensive
Figure 1. The hand interaction test. This screenshot shows a C57BL/6J mouse displaying defensive
Figure 1. The hand interaction test. This screenshot shows a C57BL/6J mouse displaying defensive
Handling mice using gloves sprayed with alcohol-based sanitiser
14
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
Voluntary interaction with the hand after
handling
Once all mice in the cage had been handled, the
observer returned their hand to the corner of the
cage and kept it motionless, whilst the behaviour
of the mice was observed for a further 2 minutes.
Home-cage behaviour after handling
Finally, the cage was relocated to the rack and
home-cage behaviour was observed for an initial
2 minute period. Approximately 20 minutes later,
home-cage behaviour was again observed for a
final 2 minutes.
Behavioural observations
Behaviours were defined according to an Ethogram
(Table 1) and recorded in real time by the two
observers. It was not possible for us to blind the
observers to the treatment; consideration was given
to using water spray as a control but this would have
been an unrealistic treatment within this applied
study and the volatile odour of the alcohol would
have continued to make the treatment obvious.
(Blinding would still have been possible, via video
recordings analysed by an additional treatment-
blind observer but these options were unavailable
to us during this study, which had limited coverage
of research costs.)
Voluntary interaction with the hand before and
after handling
The number of mice were located in the half of
the cage nearest to, and furthest from, the hand
according to the midline of the cage was noted
simultaneously by both observers at 15 defensive
instances. All other behaviours were allocated to
either one of the observers (because there were too
many behaviours for a single observer to record);
these were recorded on a one-zero schedule, i.e.
whether or not they occurred during each 15 seconds
interval. Additionally, when mice showed defensive
burying, the height of the resulting sawdust ‘wall’
was measured with a ruler by the non-handling
observer after the observation was complete.
Handleability
The non-handling observer recorded handleability
on a subjective scale (no struggle; minor struggle;
vigorous struggle or escape), vocalisation or biting,
and whether urination or defecation occurred.
Home-cage behaviour after handling
Each observer was allocated a time point (NLS:
immediately after return to the rack; NC: 20 minutes
later). All behaviours (Table 1) were recorded on a
one-zero schedule every 15 seconds for a period of
2 minutes.
Table 1. Ethogram of the behaviour recorded.
Behaviour Definition Recording stage(s)
Aggression
Biting (using the teeth to pierce the
skin), pinning (grabbing recipient
mouse’s flank and holding down),
boxing (movements of the body
towards the opponent combined
with alternated kicking of the
forepaws), tail rattling (fast waving
movements of the tail).
Homecage
Allogrooming
Licking the fur of another mouse or
using the forepaws to smooth it.
Voluntary interaction
with hand and
Homecage
Bar-biting* Chewing the cage grid. Homecage
Chasing
Rapidly following a fleeing mouse.
Homecage
Chewing glove
Using the teeth as if to pierce the
glove material.
Voluntary interaction
with hand
Climbing bars
Hanging from the cage grid, without
chewing the bars.
Homecage
Defensive
burying
Displacing bedding material towards
the gloved hand with alternating
forward pushing movements of
their forepaws and shovelling
movements of their heads.
Voluntary interaction
with hand
Eating or
drinking
Consuming food or water. The animal
rears up and licks the nozzle of the
drinker or gnaws at food pellets
through the bars of the food hopper.
Homecage
Grooming
(caudal)
Self-cleaning of the body, legs and
tail/genitals.
Voluntary interaction
with hand and
Homecage
Grooming
(rostral)
Self-cleaning of the paws, snout
and head.
Voluntary interaction
with hand and
Homecage
Kick digging
Displacing bedding material with
fore paw movements alternated by
backwards kicking of both hind legs
simultaneously.
Voluntary interaction
with hand and
Homecage
Location: close
to hand
Mouse is in the half of the cage
closer to the hand, relative to the
midline of the cage.
Voluntary interaction
with hand
Location: far
from hand
Mouse is in the half of the cage
further to the hand, relative to the
midline of the cage.
Voluntary interaction
with hand
Nesting Manipulating nesting material Homecage
Paws on hand
Mouse places one or both paws on
the gloved hand.
Voluntary interaction
with hand
Rearing
Standing upright on hind legs,
without the two front paws touching
any surfaces.
Voluntary interaction
with hand and
Homecage
Sleeping or
resting
Lying immobile for at least 5
seconds.
Homecage
Sniffing
cagemate
(anogenital)
Rapid twitching movements of
the
nose towards the anogenital
area of
another mouse.
Voluntary interaction
with hand and
Homecage
Sniffing
cagemate (body)
Rapid twitching movements of the
nose towards the head or body of
another mouse.
Voluntary interaction
with hand and
Homecage
Sniffing hand
Rapid twitching movements of the
nose towards the gloved
hand, with
the nose at < 1 body
length from the
gloved hand.
Voluntary interaction
with hand
Vocalizing
Emitting vocal sounds audible to
humans.
Voluntary interaction
with hand and
Homecage
Wall rearing
Standing upright on the hind legs
and resting one or both front paws
on a cage wall.
Voluntary interaction
with hand and
Homecage
Handling mice using gloves sprayed with alcohol-based sanitiser
The behaviours are adapted from an existing mouse ethogram.
27
The behaviour categories
are arranged in alphabetical order and the stage at which they were recorded is given.
*Other escape or stereotypic behaviours (circling, jumping, barbering and somersaulting)
were included but are not shown here because they were never observed.
15
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
Statistical analysis
IBM SPSS Statistics 22 was used to perform the
statistical analyses. Cage was the experimental unit.
Behavioural data across the 15 second time intervals
were summed for each cage at the relevant time points.
A mean handleability score was calculated per cage.
Normally distributed data were analysed using a Linear
Mixed Effects Model with Treatment, Strain, Sex and Week
set as fixed factors and Cage as a random factor. The two-
way interactions between Treatment and Strain, Treatment
and Sex and Treatment and Week were initially included but
removed if not statistically significant. If interactions were
statistically significant, post-hoc pairwise comparisons
were conducted to discover which categories the significant
differences lay between. Normality was checked by visual
inspection of the histograms of the residuals of the models
and by carrying out Kolmorov-Smirnov and Shapiro-Wilk
tests of normality. When normality assumptions were
not met, the original outcomes were transformed and
assumptions checked again. If the residuals did not fit
a normal distribution after transformation, the relevant
behaviour was converted to a binary variable (presence/
absence of the behaviour). Binary responses were
analysed using a Generalised Linear Effect Mixed Model
(Binary Logistic Regression) with the same random and
fixed factors as described above. The standard errors of
the resulting coefficients were checked for inflation that
could indicate multicollinearity.
As both observers recorded the location of mice during
voluntary interaction, an interrater reliability analysis
using the Kappa statistic was performed to determine
consistency among raters. The interrater reliability was
‘substantial’ (Kappa = 0.697; P <0.001)
28
, allowing only
one set of observations (the one with fewer missing
values) to be analysed for this variable.
Results
Statistically significant effects are shown in Table 2.
In the hand interaction test, the sanitiser significantly
increased wall-rearing (during Week 1), self-grooming
and – in BALB/c mice – sniffing and grooming of the
cagemate (Figure 2).
There were no significant effects observed during
handling itself and urination/defecation during handling
was recorded three times only, in BALB/c mice (twice
with sanitiser and once with the control). Only two mice
squeaked or bit with sanitiser versus three with control
gloves. Six mice struggled vigorously with sanitiser,
versus three with the control.
Immediately upon return to the home-cage, aggression
frequency showed a statistically significant reduction
after handling with sanitised gloves compared with
control gloves, being observed at least once in four cages
immediately after handling with sanitiser, versus seven
Figure 2. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour
in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser (blue
bars) when handling mice increased (a) sniffing the
cagemate and (b) grooming the cagemate compared
with controls (orange bars). This reached statistical
significance in BALB/c mice: *P<0.05; ***P<0.001.
X indicates mean values, the boxes indicate the inter-
quartile range, and the whiskers indicate the 95% range.
(a)
Figure 2
. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser
(blue bars) when handling mice increased (a
with controls (orange bars). This reached
indicates mean values, the boxes indicate the inter
. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser
(blue bars) when handling mice increased (a
with controls (orange bars). This reached
indicates mean values, the boxes indicate the inter
. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser
(blue bars) when handling mice increased (a
with controls (orange bars). This reached
indicates mean values, the boxes indicate the inter
*
. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser
(blue bars) when handling mice increased (a
) sniffing the cagemate and (b) grooming the cagemate
with controls (orange bars). This reached
statistical significance in BALB/c mice
indicates mean values, the boxes indicate the inter
(b)
. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser
) sniffing the cagemate and (b) grooming the cagemate
statistical significance in BALB/c mice
indicates mean values, the boxes indicate the inter
-
quartile range, and the whiskers indicate the 95% range.
. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser
) sniffing the cagemate and (b) grooming the cagemate
statistical significance in BALB/c mice
quartile range, and the whiskers indicate the 95% range.
***
. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser
) sniffing the cagemate and (b) grooming the cagemate
statistical significance in BALB/c mice
: *P<0.05; ***P<0.001.
quartile range, and the whiskers indicate the 95% range.
. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser
) sniffing the cagemate and (b) grooming the cagemate
compared
: *P<0.05; ***P<0.001.
quartile range, and the whiskers indicate the 95% range.
. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser
compared
: *P<0.05; ***P<0.001.
X
quartile range, and the whiskers indicate the 95% range.
(a)
(a)
Figure 2
. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser
(blue bars) when handling mice increased (a
with controls (orange bars). This reached
indicates mean values, the boxes indicate the inter
. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser
(blue bars) when handling mice increased (a
with controls (orange bars). This reached
indicates mean values, the boxes indicate the inter
. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser
(blue bars) when handling mice increased (a
with controls (orange bars). This reached
indicates mean values, the boxes indicate the inter
*
. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser
(blue bars) when handling mice increased (a
) sniffing the cagemate and (b) grooming the cagemate
with controls (orange bars). This reached
statistical significance in BALB/c mice
indicates mean values, the boxes indicate the inter
(b)
. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser
) sniffing the cagemate and (b) grooming the cagemate
statistical significance in BALB/c mice
indicates mean values, the boxes indicate the inter
-
quartile range, and the whiskers indicate the 95% range.
. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser
) sniffing the cagemate and (b) grooming the cagemate
statistical significance in BALB/c mice
quartile range, and the whiskers indicate the 95% range.
***
. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser
) sniffing the cagemate and (b) grooming the cagemate
statistical significance in BALB/c mice
: *P<0.05; ***P<0.001.
quartile range, and the whiskers indicate the 95% range.
. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser
) sniffing the cagemate and (b) grooming the cagemate
compared
: *P<0.05; ***P<0.001.
quartile range, and the whiskers indicate the 95% range.
. Treatment and strain effects on social behaviour in the hand interaction test. Use of hand sanitiser
compared
: *P<0.05; ***P<0.001.
X
quartile range, and the whiskers indicate the 95% range.
(b)
cages in the control treatment. This difference disappeared
20 minutes later. Handling with sanitiser increased food/
water consumption in C57BL/6J mice at the 20 minute
time point. Bar-biting was seen at least once in five of the
cages immediately after handling with sanitiser, compared
with just one cage after control handling but this difference
was not statistically significant (P = 0.343).
Some of the effects were interactive, reaching statistical
significance in only one of the mouse strains or sexes.
Alcohol spray significantly increased wall rearing and home-
cage eating/drinking compared with the control in C57BL/6
mice only. In the case of caudal grooming 20 minutes after
being returned to the home-cage, the sanitiser seemingly
masked a sex difference whereby males groomed more
than females only in control conditions.
Handling mice using gloves sprayed with alcohol-based sanitiser
16
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
Table 2. Statistically significant differences in behaviour between mice when handled using gloves sanitised with 70%
alcohol versus unsprayed gloves.
Handling stage Behaviour
affected
Effect direction Odds ratio/
Coefficient
(95% CI)
Statistic P-Value
Hand interaction
before handling
Wall rearing Sanitised >
Control only
during the first
week of the
study (statistical
interaction)
5.842 (1.432-
10.252)
F
3, 76
= 5.281 0.002
Hand interaction
after handling
Sniffing of cage-
mate
Sanitised >
Control in BALB/c
only (statistical
interaction)
0.645 (0.061-
1.228)
F
1, 80
= 4.836 0.031
Grooming of cage-
mate
Sanitised >
Control in BALB/c
only (statistical
interaction)
2.903 (1.453-
4.354)
F
1, 79
= 15.869 <0.001
Self-grooming Sanitised >
Control
0.660 (0.370-
0.949)
F
1, 81
= 20.557 <0.001
Proportion of
rostral versus
total grooming
Sanitised >
Control in
C57BL/6J only
(statistical
interaction)
0.142 (0.005-
0.278)
F
1, 80
= 4.276 0.042
Wall rearing Sanitised >
Control in the 1st
and 3rd weeks
only (statistical
interaction)
Week 1: 5.459
(1.770-9.149);
Week 3: 4.904
(1.214 - 8.594)
F
1,78
= 3.594 0.017 (Week
1: Post-hoc P
= 0.004; Week
3 Post-hoc P =
0.010)
Home-cage
immediately after
return
Aggression (seen
in males only)
Control >
Sanitised
0.251 (0.109-
0.574)
F
1, 58
= 11.605 0.001
Self-grooming
(caudal)
Sanitised >
Control
2.318 (1.440-
3.732)
F
1, 58
= 9.141 0.004
Home-cage 20
minutes after
return
Self-grooming
(caudal)
Males > Females
only in Control
conditions
(statistical
interaction)
2.921 (1.366-
6.245)
F
1, 58
= 4.737 0.034 (Post-
hoc P < 0.001
in females; P =
0.014 in males)
Consumption of
food/water
Sanitised >
Control only
in C57BL/6J
(statistical
interaction)
3.142 (2.106-
4.688)
F
1, 57
= 4.467 0.039 (Post-hoc
P < 0.001)
Handling mice using gloves sprayed with alcohol-based sanitiser
Indicates that, rather than an odds ratio, a coefficient from a Linear Mixed Effects Model is provided, i.e. where the response
was able to produce normally distributed residuals. The Control treatment was used as the reference category, so when a
behaviour increased with the alcohol spray, the odds ratio is >1 and when a behaviour decreased with alcohol, the odds ratio
is <1. The post-hoc p-value is given for statistically significant pairwise comparisons when overall two-way interactions were
statistically significant.
IAT Journal  Animal Technology and Welfare      Hand-sanitiser  is it affecting mouse behaviour      RSPCA 2020 Rodent wel...
18
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
scent marking behaviour (e.g. urination frequency
and patterning) associated with the establishment of
hierarchies in group housed male mice.
41,42
Lastly, the increase in feeding/drinking observed
in C57BL/6J after being handled with sanitised
gloves could indicate that the mice settled to normal
behaviour more quickly than when handled with
control, unsprayed gloves. Alternatively, it could have
been a displacement activity. For example, after acute
restraint, rats increased their drinking behaviour in
the first 15 minutes, followed by increased feeding.
43
Furthermore, if the alcohol had tasted bitter to the
mice during grooming, eating/drinking could have
served to rid the mice of the unpalatable taste, and
the bitterness would have increased salivation, so
it could have increased thirst.
36
Again analysis of
the microstructure of the oral behaviours could help
elucidate whether the mice were gaping as they do
with bitter substances.
35,36
Alternative hand sanitisers
The current study appears to be the first investigation
of the behavioural effects of hand sanitisers in an
applied context on animals, so if users wish to avoid
the behavioural effects of methanol-ethanol-based
sanitisers, it is difficult to suggest an alternative
at present. Alcohol-based sanitisers that contain
isopropanol and/or n-propanol instead of methanol are
unlikely to be beneficial because toxicity tests reveal
that adverse effects occur at lower doses (reviewed in
Patocka J and Kuca K. 2012).
44
Many alcohol-free hand sanitisers also exist. A UK
survey revealed that at least seven different hand
sanitisers were used for handling laboratory mice
across 51 different facilities, with 46% of respondents
reporting generically that they used ‘soap’, followed
by 24% reporting that they used Hibiscrub™ and 12%
reporting ‘alcohol’.
3
Hibiscrub™ is thus the most
widely reported single brand of sanitiser reported
for mouse handling in the UK. Its active ingredient is
chlorhexidine gluconate (4.0%) but it also contains a low
concentration of n-propanol (4.0%) as a solvent. Whilst
use of 80% ethanol as an antiseptic on the ear of an
allergic dermatitis mouse model significantly worsened
inflammation of the skin, use of 0.5% chlorhexidine
gluconate showed no significant difference from the
control which suggests that the latter may be less
irritant.
45
No compound will be entirely free of adverse
effects, depending on factors such as dose, form
and characteristics of the animals themselves. For
example, chlorhexidine compounds can occasionally
cause allergic reactions in humans and are irritants of
the eye in humans and rabbits at least (reviewed in
46
)
whilst another alcohol-free alternative, benzalkonium
chloride, is an irritant of the eyes, skin and mucosa
of many species (including some limited data on mice
reviewed in
47
).
Further research will be necessary to ascertain, under
treatment-blind conditions, the hand sanitiser that causes
least harm to animals whilst being effective, practical
and safe for humans. In the meantime the current
results lead us to make the following recommendations.
Researchers and other staff working with animals should:
Consider whether hand sanitisers need to be used
at all, given that some gloves are initially sterile
when first worn and/or, given that mouse immune
systems are more normal with a full microbiome.
4,5
If alcohol-based sanitisers are required, wait as long
as feasible for alcohol to dry before handling mice.
When using a hand-sanitiser for rodent handling,
monitor the effects on animals carefully, initially
checking at the very least for avoidance, defensive
behaviour, excessive grooming and effects on
aggression. As several products have irritant
properties, it will also be necessary to monitor skin
condition and scratching behaviour, eye irritation
such as excessive blinking and respiratory signs
such as nose-rubbing and sneezing.
Conclusions
This experiment suggested changes in mouse
behaviour resulting from sanitising gloves with 70%
alcohol. Although the reduction in aggression when the
cage was returned to the rack could be interpreted as
a positive finding, it was temporary and is likely to be
the result of the increase in grooming to remove the
sanitiser. Finally, the increased sniffing and grooming
following alcohol sanitisation implies that the mice both
inhaled and ingested some of the methylated spirits.
Rodents are less sensitive to methanol than humans
are, so long-term effects may be negligible but are
currently unknown. Further work should be carried out
under treatment-blind conditions to investigate the
suitability of alternative glove sanitisers with different
mouse strains using longer term animal health and
welfare indicators.
Acknowledgements
Noelia Lopez-Salesansky was supported by a Went
Scholarship at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).
This experiment was part of a series supported by
a Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW)
Small Project Award. We would also like to thank Ruby
Yu-Mei Chang for her statistical advice and support
and Laura Smith and members of the RVC Biological
Services Unit for discussions and information about
alternative antiseptic hand sanitisers. We are grateful
to colleagues for lending their mice to us for this study.
The authors declare no competing interests. The RVC
approved this manuscript for submission (PPS_02044).
Handling mice using gloves sprayed with alcohol-based sanitiser
19
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
References
1
Shek WR, Smith AL and Pritchett-Corning KR.
(2015) Chapter 11 - Microbiological Quality Control
for Laboratory Rodents and Lagomorphs. In: Fox
JG,
Anderson LC, Otto GM, Pritchett-Corning KR and
Whary MT, (eds.). Laboratory Animal Medicine (Third
Edition). Boston: Academic Press, 2015, p. 463-510.
2
López-Salesansky N, Mazlan NH, Whitfield LE,
Wells DJ and Burn CC.(2015) Olfaction variation in
mouse husbandry and its implications for refinement
and standardization: UK survey of animal scents.
Laboratory Animals. 2015; 50: 362-9.
3
López-Salesansky N, Mazlan NH, Whitfield LE, Wells
DJ and Burn CC. (2015) Olfactory variation in mouse
husbandry and its implications for refinement and
standardization: UK survey of non-animal scents.
Laboratory Animals. 2015; 50: 286-95.
4
Beura LK, Hamilton SE, Bi K, et al. (2017)
Normalising the environment recapitulates adult
human immune traits in laboratory mice. Nature.
2016; 532: 512.
5
Willyard C. (2018) Squeaky clean mice could be
ruining research. Nature. 2018; 556.
6
Garner JP, Gaskill BN, Weber EM, Ahloy-Dallaire
J and Pritchett-Corning KR.(2017) Introducing
Therioepistemology: the study of how knowledge is
gained from animal research. Lab Animal. 2017; 46:
103.
7
Narver HL. Antimicrobial (2017) Stewardship in
Laboratory Animal Facilities. Journal of the American
Association for Laboratory Animal Science. 2017;
56: 6-10.
8
LeMoine DM, Bergdall VK and Freed C. (2015)
Performance Analysis of Exam Gloves Used for
Aseptic Rodent Surgery. Journal of the American
Association for Laboratory Animal Science. 2015;
54: 311-6.
9
Keen JN, Austin M, Huang L-S, Messing S and
Wyatt J. (2010) Efficacy of Soaking in 70% Isopropyl
Alcohol on Aerobic Bacterial Decontamination of
Surgical Instruments and Gloves for Serial Mouse
Laparotomies. Journal of the American Association
for Laboratory Animal Science. 2010; 49: 832-7.
10
Ahmed-Lecheheb D, Cunat L, Hartemann P and
Hautemanière A. (2012) Dermal and pulmonary
absorption of ethanol from alcohol-based hand rub.
Journal of Hospital Infection. 2012; 81: 31-5.
11
Hautemanière A, Cunat L, Ahmed-Lecheheb D,
et al. (2013) Assessment of exposure to ethanol
vapors released during use of Alcohol-Based Hand
Rubs by healthcare workers. Journal of Infection and
Public Health. 2013; 6: 16-26.
12
Miller MA, Rosin A, Levsky ME, Patel MM, Gregory
TJD and Crystal CS. (2006) Does the clinical use of
ethanol-based hand sanitizer elevate blood alcohol
levels? A prospective study. The American Journal of
Emergency Medicine. 2006; 24: 815-7.
13
Maier A, Ovesen JL, Allen CL, et al.(2015) Safety
assessment for ethanol-based topical antiseptic use
by health care workers: Evaluation of developmental
toxicity potential. Regulatory Toxicology and
Pharmacology. 2015; 73: 248-64.
14
Gormley NJ, Bronstein AC, Rasimas JJ, et al.(2012)
The rising incidence of intentional ingestion of
ethanol-containing hand sanitizers. Critical care
medicine. 2012; 40: 290-4.
15
Forrester Mathias B. (2017) Characteristics of
hand sanitizer ingestions by adolescents reported to
poison centers. International Journal of Adolescent
Medicine and Health. 2015; 27: 69.
16
Santos C, Kieszak S, Wang A, Law R, Schier J and
Wolkin A. (2017) Reported Adverse Health Effects
in Children from Ingestion of Alcohol-Based Hand
Sanitizers - United States, 2011-2014. Morbidity
and mortality weekly report. US Department of
Health and Human Services/Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, 2017, p. 223-6.
17
O’Dell LE, Roberts AJ, Smith RT and Koob GF.
(2004) Enhanced alcohol self-administration after
intermittent versus continuous alcohol vapor exposure.
Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research. 2004;
28: 1676-82.
18
Phillips TJ and Crabbe JC. (1991) Behavioral studies
of genetic differences in alcohol action. The genetic
basis of alcohol and drug actions. Springer, 1991,
p. 25-104.
19
Smith EN and Taylor RT. (1982) Acute toxicity
of methanol in the folate-deficient acatalasemic
mouse. Toxicology. 1982; 25: 271-87.
20
Makar AB and Tephly TR. (1976) Methanol
poisoning in the folate-deficient rat. Nature. 1976;
261: 715-6.
21
United States Environmental Protection Agency.
(2013) IRIS Toxicological Review of Methanol
(Noncancer). Washington2013, p. 1-212.
22
Richter SH, Garner JP, Auer C, Kunert J and
Wurbel H. (2010) Systematic variation improves
reproducibility of animal experiments. Nature
Methods. 2010; 7: 167-8.
23
Rodgers DA. (1966) Factors Underlying Differences
in Alcohol Preference Among Inbred Strains of Mice.
Psychosomatic Medicine. 1966; 28: 498-513.
24
Crabbe JC. (2014) Use of animal models of alcohol-
related behavior. Handbook of clinical neurology.
Elsevier, 2014, p. 71-86.
25
Hurst JL and West RS.(2010) Taming anxiety in
laboratory mice. Nature Methods. 2010; 7: 825-6.
26
Fisher Chemical. (2016) Safety data sheet:
Methylated spirit industrial. Loughborough,: Fisher
Scientific UK, 2016, p. 2.
27
Garner JP, Gaskill BN, Rodda C, et al.(2014) An
ethogram for the laboratory mouse. Stanford: Stanford
School of Medicine, 2014.
28
Landis JR and Koch GG.(1977) The measurement of
observer agreement for categorical data. Biometrics.
1977; 33: 159-74.
29
Zalaquett C and Thiessen D. (2006) The effects of
odors from stressed mice on conspecific behavior.
Physiology and Behavior. 1991; 50: 221-7.
Handling mice using gloves sprayed with alcohol-based sanitiser
20
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
30
Lever C, Burton S and O’Keefe J. (2006) Rearing
on Hind Legs, Environmental Novelty, and the
Hippocampal Formation. Reviews in the Neurosciences.
2006; 17: 111.
31
Kemble ED, Garbe CM and Gordon C. (1995) Effects
of novel odors on intermale attack behavior in mice.
Aggressive Behavior. 1995; 21: 293-9.
32
Kalueff AV and Tuohimaa P. (2004) Grooming
analysis algorithm for neurobehavioural stress
research. Brain Research Protocols. 2004; 13: 151-
8.
33
Kalueff AV, Aldridge JW, LaPorte JL, Murphy
DL and Tuohimaa P. (2007) Analyzing grooming
microstructure in neurobehavioral experiments.
Nature Protocols. 2007; 2: 2538.
34
Smolinsky AN, Bergner CL, LaPorte JL and Kalueff
AV. (2009) Analysis of Grooming Behavior and
Its Utility in Studying Animal Stress, Anxiety, and
Depression. In: T. G, (ed.). Mood and Anxiety Related
Phenotypes in Mice. Totowa: Humana Press, 2009,
p. 21-36.
35
Berridge KC. (2000) Measuring hedonic impact in
animals and infants: microstructure of affective taste
reactivity patterns. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral
Reviews. 2000; 24: 173-98.
36
Matsuo R, Yamamoto T, Ikehara A and Nakamura O.
(1994) Effect of salivation on neural taste responses
in freely moving rats: analyses of salivary secretion
and taste responses of the chorda tympani nerve.
Brain Research. 1994; 649: 136-46.
37
Cooper RG. (2008) Renal Function in Male Sprague-
Dawley Rats Concurrently Exposed to Long-Term
Nicotine (3-{1-Methyl-2-Pyrrolidinyl}Pyridine) and
Methylated Spirits (Methyl Alcohol). Renal Failure.
2008; 30: 107-14.
38
Meyer RJ, Beard ME, Ardagh MW and Henderson S.
(2000) Methanol poisoning. New Zealand medical
journal. 2000; 113: 11-3.
39
Van Loo PLP, Van Zutphen LFM and Baumans V.
(2017) Male management: coping with aggression
problems in male laboratory mice. Laboratory
Animals.
2003; 37: 300-13.
40
Weber EM, Dallaire JA, Gaskill BN, Pritchett-
Corning KR and Garner JP.(2017) Aggression in
group-housed laboratory mice: why can’t we solve
the problem? Lab Animal. 2017; 46: 157.
41
Arakawa H, Arakawa K, Blanchard DC and
Blanchard RJ. (200) A new test paradigm for social
recognition evidenced by urinary scent marking
behavior in C57BL/6J mice. Behavioural Brain
Research. 2008; 190: 97-104.
42
Nevison CM, Barnard CJ, Beynon RJ and Hurst
JL. (2000) The consequences of inbreeding for
recognizing competitors. Proceedings of the Royal
Society of London Series B. 2000; 267: 687-94.
43
Badiani A, Jakob A, Rodaros D and Stewart J.
(1996) Sensitization of stress-induced feeding in
rats repeatedly exposed to brief restraint: the role of
corticosterone. Brain Research. 1996; 710: 35-44.
44
Patocka J and Kuca K. (2012) Toxic alcohols:
Aliphatic saturated alcohols. Military Medical
Science Letters. 2012; 81: 142-63.
45
Sadakane K and Ichinose T. (2015) Effect of the
hand antiseptic agents benzalkonium chloride,
povidone-iodine, ethanol, and chlorhexidine
gluconate on atopic dermatitis in NC/Nga mice.
International journal of medical sciences. 2015; 12:
116-25.
46
Hazardous Substances Databank. Chlorhexidine.
Bethesda2015, p. https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/
cgi-bin/sis/search/a?dbs+hsdb:@term+@
DOCNO+7196.
47
Hazardous Substances Databank. Benzalkonium
Chloride Compounds. Bethesda2010, p. https://
toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search2/
r?dbs+hsdb:@term+@DOCNO+234#permalink.
Handling mice using gloves sprayed with alcohol-based sanitiser
21
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareApril 2021 Animal Technology and Welfare
Introduction
The RSPCA/UFAW rodent and rabbit welfare group
has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last
27 years, so that its members can discuss current
welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues
and share experiences of the implementation of the
3Rs of replacement, reduction and refinement with
respect to rodent use. A key aim of the Group is to
encourage people to think about the whole lifetime
experience of laboratory rodents, ensuring that every
potential negative impact on their wellbeing is reviewed
and minimised.
This year’s meeting was held online for the first time
and was attended by over 400 delegates from almost
40 countries. The theme was ‘cumulative experiences’
with sessions on ‘the science of cumulative severity’
and ‘practical refinements to reduce severity and
promote wellbeing’. The meeting opened with an
introductory talk which explained why cumulative
experiences are important and how both positive and
negative experiences can accumulate over an animal’s
lifetime to have long-term impacts on welfare. Further
talks discussed different ways to recognise and
assess cumulative severity, the cumulative impacts
of small refinements and the concept of a ‘good life’
and what this means for laboratory rodents. This was
followed by an update from the Home Office Animals
in Science Regulation Unit (ASRU), which focussed
on how cumulative experiences influence the severity
experienced by animals in science. The day closed with
an interactive discussion session on ways to identify
cumulative suffering in rodents cage side. This report
summarises the meeting and ends with a list of action
points for readers to consider raising at their own
establishments.
Report of the 2020 RSPCA/UFAW rodent
and rabbit welfare meeting
CHLOE STEVENS,
1
PENNY HAWKINS,
1
TOM V SMULDERS,
2
AILEEN
MACLELAN,
3
LARS LEWEJOHANN,
4,5
PAULIN JIRKOF,
6
JACKIE BOXALL,
7
HELEN MURPHY,
7
CARLEY M MOODY,
8
PATRICIA V TURNER,
8,9
I J MAKOWSKA,
10
and CHARLOTTE INMAN
11
1
Animals in Science Department, Science Group, RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, West
Sussex RH13 9RS UK
2
Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU UK
3
Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East, Guelph, Ontario,
Canada
4
Freie Universität Berlin, Kaiserswerther Str. 16-18, 14195 Berlin, Germany
5
German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), German Centre for the Protection of
Laboratory Animals (Bf3R), Postfach 12 69 42, D - 10609 Berlin, Germany
6
Department of Animal Welfare and 3Rs, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057
Zurich, Switzerland
7
GSK, Medicines Research Centre, Gunnels Wood Road, Stevenage, Hertfordshire SG1 2NY UK
8
Global Animal Welfare and Training, Charles River Laboratories, Wilmington, MA USA
9
Department of Pathobiology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON Canada
10
Animal Welfare Program, University of British Columbia, 2357 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T
1Z4 Canada
11
Home Office Animals in Science Regulation Unit, 14th Floor, Lunar House, 40 Wellesley Road,
Croydon CR9 2BY UK
22
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
Cumulative experiences – why are
they important?
Penny Hawkins
RSPCA
The experiences animals have throughout their lives
can influence the way they perceive later events, both
positively and negatively. It is important to recognise
this, from animal welfare, ethical, legal and scientific
perspectives. The concept of ‘cumulative severity’
or ‘cumulative experiences’ appears in various laws
regulating animal experiments, and in guidance on
implementing these. However, cumulative experiences
can be difficult to predict and it is unclear how they can
best be detected and assessed.
A wide range of factors may influence a laboratory
animal’s cumulative experiences, including the species
of animal, the individual’s personality, the procedures
involved, housing and husbandry practices, the
empathy of handlers and any prior training the animal
has experienced. An animal’s cumulative experiences
may also be affected by both habituation (which
may reduce the negative impacts of an experience)
or sensitisation (which may increase the negative
impacts).
1
Taking these factors into account leads to
some important questions relating to the impacts of
cumulative experiences, for example:
Might non-regulated studies involving repeated
or chronic sub-threshold harms end up above
threshold?
Might some procedures go beyond their severity
limits due to a lack of recognition of cumulative
severity?
How can the concept of cumulative severity be used
to better care for animals and improve their lives?
Detecting and predicting cumulative suffering is not
easy but is essential for understanding whether severity
limits may have been approached or exceeded. Noticing
if an animal has become sensitised or is showing an
exaggerated response to a ‘routine’ procedure, or that
an animal no longer appears to be coping with life in the
laboratory (e.g. they may show depressive behaviours
or stop using enrichment) can provide some signs of
this. Animal welfare science can also provide possible
practical indicators of cumulative severity, such as
anhedonia (no longer taking pleasure in pleasurable
stimuli), ‘inactive but awake’ behaviour (see last year’s
meeting report
2
), or nest quality in mice.
3
Any welfare
assessment system should include a number of welfare
indicators like these to ensure it provides an accurate
picture of the animal’s welfare state.
Although indicators like those mentioned above are
useful, it can still be difficult to fully understand the
experiences of the animals in question. The principle of
‘critical anthropomorphism’ must therefore be applied -
combining empathy with an objective, knowledge-based
consideration of what is likely to be significant to an
animal. This can be informed by thinking about how
animals perceive and interpret their world – for example,
mice have poor eyesight but good hearing, so may be
sensitive to laboratory noises; are nocturnal and so are
likely to be disturbed if used during the working day
without a reversed light cycle; and are prey animals
so can experience stress during capture and restraint.
Attempting to consider laboratory practices like marking
for identification, genotyping, early maternal separation
and scientific procedures from the animal’s point of
view can give us a better understanding of the animal’s
whole-life experience.
In summary, there are a number of key principles
underlying approaches to better understanding of
cumulative experiences. Firstly, the precautionary
principle should be applied, with the assumption being
that if something can affect an animal’s ability to cope,
that it will. Next, it must be emphasised that there is
always more that can be done to improve animals’
lives - and this can be helped by fostering a culture of
support for people who want to address animal welfare
issues. Support can also come from the Animal Welfare
and Ethical Review Body (AWERB), Animal Welfare Body
(AWB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
(IACUC). Finally, it is important that all of those involved
with the care and use of animals to engage with animal
welfare science, engage in critical anthropomorphism
and work together to reduce the impact of research on
animals.
Neural indicators of cumulative
severity
Tom V Smulders, Newcastle University
Many laws and guidelines relating to animal experiments
refer to ‘cumulative severity’ or ‘cumulative suffering’
as critical in assessing animal welfare. Indeed, the
cumulative experience of a number of mild events can
be quite severe under some circumstances, so it is very
important to be able to detect whether this is happening.
Good indicators of cumulative severity should respond
to the individual’s experience of the event (not the
objective event itself), increase or decrease in value
in response to positive and negative experiences, and
integrate the response to those positive and negative
experiences over time (Figure. 1).
4,5
But do such
indicators exist?
Some potential biomarkers of cumulative experience
have already been identified – for example, telomeres,
which are the caps at the ends of chromosomes, shorten
in response to chronic stress. However, telomeres
do not appear to lengthen in response to positive
experiences, so can only be used as a biomarker of
Report of the 2020 RSPCA/UFAW rodent and rabbit welfare meeting
23
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
how many negative events an animal has experienced.
Alternative biomarkers, which integrate positive and
negative experiences, are found in the brain, and these
may be useful for understanding an animal’s cumulative
experience.
One brain structure that consistently varies in animals
exposed to unpredictable chronic stress is the
hippocampus, which plays a major role in learning
and memory as well as regulating stress, anxiety
and emotional responses. Unlike most of the rodent
brain, it adds new neurons throughout adult life. The
formation of new neurons is sensitive to both positive
and negative experiences. This also occurs in humans
– for example, the hippocampus reduces in size in
people with major depression – and in animal ‘models’
of major depression. It has also been shown that rats
given access to running wheels – a resource they value
highly – had significantly larger hippocampal volume
than unexercised controls.
6
On the other hand, rats
exposed to chronic immobilisation stress showed a
significant decrease in hippocampal volume.
7
These
results show that hippocampal volume can respond to
both positive and negative experiences and so these
effects can be integrated to provide an insight into
cumulative experiences.
Similar evidence exists for the formation of new
neurons (neurogenesis), which is significantly lower
in stressed mice than in unstressed mice, whilst the
number of new neurons increases in animals provided
with environmental enrichment and voluntary exercise.
8
This suggests neurogenesis in the hippocampus can
indicate positive emotional (affective) states over time.
It has also been observed that some anti-depressant
drugs that recover animals from a depressive state to
a non-depressive state will also increase hippocampal
neurogenesis over the same time course. That is, it
takes just as long for hippocampal neurogenesis to
recover as it does for behaviours to return to normal,
suggesting that there may be a link between these new
neurons and behavioural indicators of better welfare.
In conclusion, it seems possible that ‘biomarkers’
such as the volume of the hippocampus, and the
formation of new neurons, could both have potential
as ways of assessing cumulative experience. However,
there are some limitations: estimation of hippocampal
volume can be performed repeatedly in vivo, but only
with the use of MRI scans. This process is expensive
and involves repeatedly anaesthetising animals which
is stressful (and would, ironically, add to cumulative
severity). However, it could be done experimentally
to help validate potential behavioural indicators of
cumulative severity or to help understand the welfare
impact of a particular procedure. Neurogenesis can
only be assessed at the end of life, so cannot be used
as a monitoring tool over time but could be used for
experimentally comparing different treatments to allow
users to make more informed decisions about the
procedures they use with respect to the animal’s
welfare, or to help validate estimates of actual severity.
Hence, these kinds of tools can help inform better
prediction and assessment of cumulative severity.
Can home cage behaviour be used
to assess cumulative welfare in
laboratory mice?
Aileen MacLellan, Andrea Polanco, Georgia
Mason, University of Guelph
Cumulative welfare has become a topic of concern for
research animals and may be particularly important
for fragile strains, animals used in long term studies
or research into ageing and breeding stock. Identifying
indicators of cumulative welfare, or severity, is therefore
an important goal for animal welfare researchers. Although
some potential biomarkers of cumulative welfare currently
show promise, such as telomere length or hippocampal
volume (see above), they also have limitations for day-to-
day use cage-side, as they may be expensive, invasive,
involve restraint and handling, and prone to false
positives or false negatives e.g. Malmkvist et al 2012.
9
Figure 1. Two patterns of what potential indicators of
cumulative experience could look like. Pattern A shows
a cumulative indicator that integrates all negative
experiences (red arrows) over a lifetime. Pattern B
shows an indicator that integrates both negative and
positive (blue arrows) experiences. The advantage
of pattern A is that it allows one to measure the total
negative experiences. However, positive experiences are
not recorded. One indicator that might follow this pattern
is the changes in telomere length. The advantage
of pattern B is that it takes into account the total net
experience, but it cannot distinguish between a life with
barely any positive or negative experiences, and one that
has large negative, but also large positive experiences.
Hippocampal neurogenesis may follow the latter pattern.
Report of the 2020 RSPCA/UFAW rodent and rabbit welfare meeting
24
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
We aimed to identify some practical potential indicators
of cumulative welfare. Our first area of focus was
home-cage behaviours such as stereotypic behaviour
and ‘inactive-but-awake’ behaviour. These behaviours
are considered to indicate poor welfare but might also
provide simple, non-invasive markers of cumulative
experiences. For example, levels of stereotypic
behaviour increase with repeated negative events in
some species and also may decrease with positive
experiences, such as the provision of environmental
enrichment.
10–12
However, stereotypic behaviours are
also prone to false negatives as indicators of cumulative
welfare. In part, this may be because stereotypic
behaviour appears to be subject to ceiling effects e.g.
Bechard et al 2016, that is, stereotypic behaviours may
increase in frequency with increasing stressful events
up to a point, but then cease to increase in frequency
with additional stressors.
10
Also, not all species or
strains engage in stereotypic behaviour – for example,
C57BL/6 mice, rats and guinea pigs all appear to have a
low likelihood of developing stereotypic behaviours.
13,14
In such animals, other behavioural indicators such as
time spent ‘inactive-but-awake’ may be more useful
(for more information on inactive-but-awake behaviour,
please see last year’s meeting report).
We have also explored the potential for colony morbidity
and mortality data to be used as an indicator of
cumulative welfare. High morbidity and mortality rates
are often associated with negative emotional states,
and it is possible that negative emotions play a direct or
causal role in affecting morbidity, mortality and longevity
by contributing to prolonged activation of physiological
systems involved in responses in stressful stimuli.
15
In
a range of species, including humans and laboratory
rodents, higher stress levels and negative emotions
are associated with increased mortality
16–18
while
greater longevity is associated with exposure to positive
experiences.
19,20
To explore this link further, 165 female mice were
reared to adulthood (55 C57BL/6; 55 DBA/2 and 55
Balb/c) in environmentally enriched or non-enriched
cages. After being used in behavioural research, they
were then allowed to live into middle age and beyond for
approximately 570 days. Over time, we found that 23%
of mice (38/165) had died unexpectedly or prematurely
by 570 days (including animals euthanised in response
to health issues).
1
* This was predicted by housing
conditions: of the mice that were still alive at 570 days,
less than 65% were from non-enriched cages, compared
with over 80% of the enriched mice. We also found that
stereotypic behaviour predicted early death. However
we found no link between inactive-but-awake behaviour
and early death. We concluded that all-cause morbidity
and mortality data can therefore be used as a potential
indicator of cumulative welfare. However, again these
results should be cautiously interpreted. Morbidity and
mortality rates can be prone to false positives (e.g.
species and strain differences in lifespan exist that
are not necessarily correlated with welfare). There is
also a risk of false negatives since mild stressors may
not affect morbidity and mortality and can therefore
be missed. For instance, differences might not be
detected in populations not allowed to live their full
lifespan since cumulative effects of stress only start
affecting senescence, morbidity and mortality after
middle age. It is also important to note that morbidity
and mortality data can only be used as a retrospective
indicator to improve future practices, rather than for
current interventions.
The relationship between potential indicators of
cumulative welfare is complex, variable and needs
more research to help develop more useful indicators
for laboratory and other settings. It is likely that there
is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ indicator due to species, strain,
sex and individual differences. However, colony ‘all-
cause’ morbidity and mortality data does indicate
cumulative stress and therefore morbidity and mortality
data that is already collected in facilities can be used
by colony managers as an assessment tool and means
of improvement, with the principal aim of minimising
preventable deaths. Increases in stereotypic behaviour
are also a warning indicator of cumulative stress and
increases in inactivity may also indicate cumulative
stress. It should also be noted that some indicators
may have opposing patterns, e.g., stereotypic behaviour
may ‘protect’ against cumulative welfare biomarkers
like shortened telomeres and decreased hippocampal
volume. Therefore, consideration of multiple indicators
and recognition of potentially opposing patterns is key
when monitoring cumulative welfare.
Using welfare science to understand
animal’s experiences and needs
Lars Lewejohann, Freie Universität Berlin
The vast majority of laboratory animals in Europe are
mice, with millions used or housed as stock animals and
many more humanely killed because they are considered
‘surplus’ animals.
21
Mice are usually housed in small
cages which do not offer much variety, despite the fact
that laboratory mice are capable of a wide behavioural
1*
Note: This was not a ‘severe’ study and death was not used as an endpoint. The mice were simply allowed to live out their lives
into late middle age (as happens with pets or zoo animals) and sick animals were always treated and/or euthanised. Findings
indicate that senescence (as indicated by a fall in survivorship) began earlier in conventionally housed than enriched animals.
Under UK and EU legislation regulating the use of animals for scientific purposes, actual severity is presumed to be ‘severe’ if an
animal is found dead, unless there is evidence otherwise. Death as an endpoint must be avoided as far as possible. In the UK,
causes of death must be noted and mortality reported to the Secretary of State if severity limits have been exceeded as a result.
Report of the 2020 RSPCA/UFAW rodent and rabbit welfare meeting
25
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
repertoire similar to that seen in their wild counterparts.
Housing conditions for laboratory mice have been
improved over time, so that items considered ‘enriching’
twenty years ago, such as nesting material and mouse
houses, are now part of a ‘standard’ cage. One of the
key ways to make the lives of laboratory mice better is
to aim to continually improve their housing and living
conditions.
Observing laboratory mice during the working day
in a facility with a ‘standard’ light cycle may give the
impression that the mice are not experiencing problems
but observations conducted during the dark phase at
night – when mice are most active – are more likely to pick
up signs of poor welfare such as stereotypic behaviour.
This kind of behaviour may be reduced with the provision
of environmental enrichment and lots of items are now
commercially available, such as different types of mouse
houses, climbing structures and platforms to increase
available space. Enrichment aimed at providing cognitive
stimulation can also help to alleviate boredom – these
kinds of items usually require the mice to interact with an
object in order to obtain a reward. In our laboratory, we
have introduced boxes with lids which the mice must lift
to access millet seeds, hollow balls stuffed with nesting
material and millet seeds for the mice to remove, tunnels
containing pebbles which the mice can dig out and balls
containing millet seeds which will fall out through a small
hole if the ball is rolled around the cage. We have also
noted that mice like to engage with running wheels or
discs and that running discs seem
preferable as the
mice can run without having their spine bent as it would
be in a running wheel.
To establish which of these types of enrichment items are
best for promoting good welfare, we compared different
housing types: a conventional cage containing a mouse
house and nesting material; an enriched cage containing
platforms: different types of housing, a running disc
and different cognitive enrichment items, regularly
exchanged to provide novelty. We found that behaviours
associated with poor welfare, such as inactive behaviour
and stereotypies, were significantly reduced in enriched
cages compared to controls. We were also interested in
rating the different enrichment items from the mouse’s
perspective, so we conducted a large number of
preference tests. To do this, we tagged mice in the neck
region with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags so
their locations in a cage could be tracked using our newly-
developed surveillance system.
22
We then presented
mice with different combinations of enrichment items
in order to develop a rank order of preference for these
items (Lewejohann and Talbot, in prep).
We found that mice showed the greatest preference
for a plastic floor house on which they could climb in
comparison with other types of mouse house and a
ball-shaped house was least preferred. Structural items
with a flat surface on top were the most preferred of
all the climbing elements we presented with a plastic
suspended tube the least preferred. Finally, we found
that the most preferred form of cognitive enrichment
was the latticed ball containing removable nesting
material and millet seeds and a puzzle box which
required mice to slide open a lid to access millet seeds
was least preferred. Our next step will be to conduct
consumer demand tests, which are tests which can be
used to assess how hard mice are willing to work for
access to a reward or condition.
23
We have previously
shown that mice will work harder (press a lever more
times) to access an enriched cage than an additional
non-enriched cage, suggesting that the enriched cage
is more highly valued by mice.
Beyond the forms of enrichment described here, we
have found other ways that help to improve the welfare
of our mice include provision of treats like millet seeds
and providing opportunities for exercise by adding
running discs to cages (Figure 2.). We have noticed that
aged mice provided with running discs looked healthier
and more active after two weeks, suggesting that this
provision may be important for limiting the welfare
impacts of aging. Continuing to trial and evaluate these
kinds of interventions are important ways to keep
improving the welfare of research animals, even outside
of an experimental context.
21
Figure 2. A mouse using a running disc. Credit: Lars
Lewejohann.
Small refinements to improve
lifetime welfare
Paulin Jirkof, University of Zurich
Refining experimental procedures to reduce pain,
stress or other negative emotional (affective) states is
a crucial tool to improve experimental animal welfare.
However, laboratory rodents spend much of their lives
in their cages, outside the experiment and many are
Report of the 2020 RSPCA/UFAW rodent and rabbit welfare meeting
26
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
not even used for experiments but maintained for
breeding. To ensure the lifetime welfare of all animals
bred and housed for scientific purposes, all aspects of
husbandry, breeding, housing and research procedures
must be considered.
Mice account for the majority of research animals
globally and are usually housed in groups as they
are social animals. However, inter-male aggression in
group-housed mice is very common, and can lead to
stress, severe injuries and death – especially as fighting
wounds may not be noticed until it is too late.
24
This
means that the severity of fighting in male mice is often
under-estimated. A potential solution to this problem
is to house male mice singly, but this intervention is
not ideal as it deprives mice of their social needs and
also makes mice more vulnerable to cold stress as
they cannot huddle together with others for warmth.
In general, male mice prefer to be group housed so it
is important to seek a better solution than individual
housing.
25
Although there is some ambiguity in the
literature regarding alternative interventions, some
show consistent and promising results.
For example, some laboratory mouse strains are less
prone to aggression than others, which can provide a
useful starting point; grouping siblings together, grouping
mice when young and keeping these groups stable once
established can also help reduce aggression. The ideal
group size for male mice has not yet been agreed upon,
as some research has suggested that smaller groups
may be better than larger groups, nevertheless recent
research resulted in ambiguous results.
25–28
Aggression
also tends to be lower when steps are taken to reduce
stress – for example, moving used (but not soiled)
nest material (not litter) into a new cage when cages
are changed and choosing less stressful handling
techniques such as tunnel handling and predictable
handling.
28
If none of these interventions work and
aggression persists, mice may have to be housed
singly, but extra nesting material should be provided in
order to reduce the risk of cold stress.
Another area which can be refined to improve the
experience of animals and may contribute to improving
an animal’s overall experience is drug administration.
Typically, this procedure is stressful for rodents as
it may involve restraint and unpleasant or aversive
experiences like injection or oral gavage. With well-
trained personnel and habituation, stress can be
reduced somewhat but this process is still likely to
be stressful. However, it is possible to train rodents
to ingest substances, either directly from a syringe or
by mixing with preferred foods. Some restraint may
be initially necessary, but if the carrier substance
is palatable, and as the animal habituates to the
experience, less restraint will be needed, possibly to
the point where no restraint is needed at all.
29
This
technique works with both rats and mice – and could
even become a positive experience for the animal. As
another alternative, drugs can be mixed with palatable
substances and provided in the animal’s home cage so
that no handling is required. Nutella
®
, honey, strawberry
jam, baby food and condensed milk are all good options
to try and sterile or calorie-free jellies are commercially
available if they are needed, as are emulsifiers which
may be needed to mix the substance with the carrier.
However, note that methods based on uncontrolled
voluntary ingestion (e.g. via drinking water or ad libitum
food) may not be suitable for protocols which require
the animals to ingest a controlled amount, especially as
eating or drinking events may vary greatly in frequency
between the light and the dark phase.
30
There is great potential for improving the lives of
laboratory animals both in and outside of experiments.
If you wish to apply these, or any other refinements in
your facility, consider putting together an action plan
which takes into account the latest advances in the
field, challenges the status quo and aims to find creative
ways to solve any problems that may arise. Train
collaborators in the refinement procedures you wish
to use and test options systematically, with alternative
methods in place in case they are needed. Finally, share
your experiences with internal and external colleagues
– letting others know what works and what does not, is
key for promoting better welfare for a greater number of
laboratory animals.
Development of a visual approach
to severity assessment
Jackie Boxall and Helen Murphy, GSK
Guidance on severity assessment, such as the EU
Severity Assessment Framework,
31
states that the
duration of adverse effects should be considered when
assessing harms to animals resulting from procedures
– but how do we decide when a transient effect becomes
persistent? Do we all think the same way? Good
communication between all stakeholders is key when
making decisions about animals used in a study, but
it can be challenging to ensure a consistent approach
between research projects. Our Animal Welfare and
Ethical Review Body (AWERB) set a 2020 objective
to review internal guidance on severity assessment,
clarify the transitions from mild, to moderate, to severe
for commonly observed clinical signs and consider
cumulative severity.
Our approach was to develop a ‘heat map’ for each
individual clinical sign, with the descriptor of the sign
along one axis and the duration of the sign along the
other axis. This would allow a colour-coded severity
classification to be assigned for each clinical sign that
takes both factors into account, so that a sign which
appears fairly mild, but lasts for a long time, may
Report of the 2020 RSPCA/UFAW rodent and rabbit welfare meeting
27
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
actually be considered a sign of moderate severity, and
a long-lasting moderate sign may be considered severe.
The guidance we currently use leaves decisions about
how the duration of a sign should be interpreted up to
the observer, whereas this heat map approach can help
to remove some of the ambiguity.
To develop our guidance, we formed a working group,
which included animal care staff, researchers, veterinary
surgeons and a statistician. The group members came
from diverse areas of our animal research community
and worked on a range of different species to provide a
broad basis of knowledge and help achieve consensus
regarding how to classify the different clinical signs.
We started by forming a list of the clinical signs we
wanted to develop guidance for, and discussed each
sign and how to interpret it in detail. We agreed upon
the basic structure of the map for each sign by deciding
on what the descriptors and timelines were going to
be. Next, each group member was asked to fill in the
heat map independently from other Working Group
members although they could consult other colleagues
if they wished. Data from this was then collated and
visualised using mosaic plots. The mosaic plots
showed where there was a strong consensus over how
a sign should be interpreted and this information was
used to begin assigning colours to the boxes within the
heat map. For areas without a strong consensus, we
used the current guidance to help inform our decisions
and engaged in further discussions within the group to
better understand each other’s viewpoints. This has
resulted in usable heat maps for several generalised
clinical signs including hunched posture, subdued
behaviour and piloerection and are working on maps for
body weight changes (Figure. 3).
When considering how individual clinical signs may
affect cumulative severity, we must consider the total
number of clinical signs as well as the magnitude and
duration (Figure. 4). To use the heat maps for multiple
clinical signs, we assign the severity level for each
sign individually, then take the highest severity level
as the minimum actual severity experienced by that
animal. Where all the signs fall into one band, we can
look at how close the signs are to the threshold for
the next band and consider whether a higher overall
severity needs to be assigned to take into account the
cumulative experience of the animals.
Although the development of our heat maps has been
a positive step forward, there are some limitations to
our approach and some next steps we are taking to
develop the guidance further. On the positive side, the
effects of duration are now well-defined, severity can be
assessed on a continuous spectrum and the heat maps
are based on a wide consensus with transparency over
all stages of the decision-making process which should
mean there will be good consistency between users.
However, assessment of animals still tends to be
based on professional experience and opinions, rather
than animal welfare or behaviour science, especially as
some of the descriptors are still open to interpretation.
We also have yet to define how to interpret intermittently
displayed clinical signs. Our next steps will be to develop
guidance for further clinical signs and procedural
effects, further develop our method for interpreting
multiple clinical signs and to seek further consensus
and feedback to continue to improve our approach.
Figure 4. Factors affecting cumulative severity considered
for the ‘heat map’ approach to actual severity
assessment.
Figure 3. An illustration of a heatmap. A similar table for each clinical sign covered by the new guidance will be shared
once completed. Severity bands, descriptors and timelines would be specific for each clinical sign.
Report of the 2020 RSPCA/UFAW rodent and rabbit welfare meeting
28
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
Establishing trust with laboratory
rats: how long does it really take?
Carly M Moody, Patricia V Turner,
Charles River Laboratories
University of Guelph
Laboratory rats and mice are handled frequently in
research settings for example, during cage change, for
physical examination and for various study procedures.
Suboptimal handling and restraint procedures can
cause prolonged stress responses caused by negative
reactions to people, which may have further negative
effects such as delayed wound healing, reduced
learning and cognitive abilities and reduced animal
health and wellbeing. On the other hand, the use of low-
stress handling techniques like cup and tunnel capture
and handling to improve human-animal interactions has
a number of benefits.
32,33
Reduced fear in laboratory
rodents reduces the risk of injuries to both animals
and staff, makes the interactions more enjoyable which
can benefit animal welfare, staff job satisfaction and
the overall human-animal bond and helps to minimise
bias in the study data. Despite these highly publicised
benefits, there is still poor uptake of low-stress
handling practices, and a common reason given is that
habituation takes too long. We therefore conducted a
study to investigate how long it takes to improve rat-
human interactions.
The aim was to evaluate whether short periods of
habituation and counter-conditioning would reduce
measures of fear, stress and anxiety in handled rats.
Habituation (the gradual exposure of an animal to a
stimulus) and counter-conditioning (where a negatively-
perceived event is paired with a positive stimulus to
reduce the negative effects) are both training techniques
that could be incorporated into the regular husbandry of
animals to reduce their negative responses to people,
procedures or the general laboratory environment. We
carried out the study over a two-week period and included
three groups of male Sprague-Dawley rats. The control
group received no handling over the study period, the ‘low
handling’ group received 15 seconds of gentle handling
three times a week and the ‘moderate handling’ group
received 45 seconds of gentle handling three times a
week. The handling consisted of gentle body restraint
and stroking of the head, body, tail and limbs on a soft
handling mat with Cheerios given as treats.
At the end of the study period, we found that rats in
both handling groups urinated and defecated less
during cage change than control rats, were quicker to
voluntarily approach the hand of an unknown person,
suggesting lower fear of humans, and also eliminated
less when restrained for blood collection. However
there were no differences between groups in glucose
levels or in behaviour when the rats were tested in
an elevated plus maze, suggesting that while fear of
humans had been reduced, there was still some level
of handling stress. We also noted that there were no
differences between the low-handled and moderately-
handled groups, suggesting that only 15 seconds of
handling three times a week is sufficient to reduce
negative responses.
The results of this initial study are promising, as they
suggest that relatively little time needs to be invested
to improve the experience of laboratory rats which
has important implications for the overall cumulative
experience of these animals. We plan to further
investigate these effects, firstly by seeing if our result
can be replicated and then by carrying out this study
with female rats to see if their responses differ from
males. We also hope to carry out a longer study to
examine how long the effects of this simple handling
protocol will last.
A good life for laboratory rodents?
I Joanna Makowska,
University of British Columbia
A ‘good life’ requires that animals be able to express
a rich behavioural repertoire, use their abilities and
fulfil their potential through active engagement with
their environment. Although some types of research
may not always be compatible with providing laboratory
animals with a good life, it is possible to consider what
the minimum day-to-day living conditions would be that
contribute to a good life for laboratory rodents. There
are three major aspects of animals’ lives which play a
major role in having a good life: the animal’s life outside
the research context, the interactions that animal has
with humans and the animal’s physical environment.
Here we focus on the physical environment but the
importance of the animal’s life outside research and
human-animal interactions are discussed in Makowska
and Weary (2020).
34
A ‘standard’ cage for laboratory rodents has two main
physical features – litter and shelter. The types of
these features which are chosen can have a significant
impact on welfare – for example, in North America,
corncob bedding is popular for its high absorbency, but
has been found to be avoided in preference tests. An
alternative is paper-based material which has fewer
impacts on animal health but has lower absorbency. A
simple way to improve welfare for rodents is therefore
to provide paper material but use a deeper layer – this
is preferred by mice, and also was found to lead to
lower corticosterone levels, higher body temperature,
lower food intake and lower ammonia levels in mouse
cages, meaning that any higher cost of using more litter
may be offset by lower food costs.
35
With respect to
shelters, open-ended PVC pipes are often used in rat
cages, even though rats prefer hut-type shelters with
Report of the 2020 RSPCA/UFAW rodent and rabbit welfare meeting
29
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
only one entrance. Mice tend to prefer nests as shelters
and will choose soft paper towels or tissue paper as
their main building material, even though they produce
better-quality nests with crinkle paper. If both are
provided, mice will use crinkle paper as the structural
outer layer and paper towels as the inner layer, resulting
in a comfortable and high-quality shelter.
Another important aspect of the physical environment
for laboratory rodents is the level of environmental
complexity. Creating more complexity, either by adding
structures which increase the amount of usable space,
or by adding cage dividers, is preferred and leads to
lower stress levels in both rats and mice. Increased
complexity can also allow rodents to use separate
areas for different activities – mice housed in three
interconnected cages were found to build a nest in one
cage and use another as a latrine,
36
and – in general
– mice provided with a demarcated area in their cage
spontaneously use this area as a latrine.
37
Cage
designs should therefore promote this segregation of
space, for example, a litter pan containing absorbent
bedding can be placed near the food and water, as
mice and rats prefer to eliminate close to food and
water. Doing this would also allow the rest of the cage
to be disturbed less frequently, as only the litter pan
would need regular changing and would also allow
more comfortable bedding to be used in the rest of
the cage.
Alternatives to the typical ‘shoebox’ cage, such as cages
more similar to those used for pet rats, can provide
an even greater level of environmental complexity and
are associated with better welfare and a more complex
behavioural repertoire. For example, rats housed in
large cages containing soil were less stressed and
performed behaviours not possible in a standard cage,
such as burrowing, climbing and upright stretching,
while mice housed in large, complex enclosures had
less fat and stronger immune systems.
38
When it is
not possible to provide home cages with this level of
complexity, animals will still benefit from access to a
‘playpen’ – repurposed rabbit cages (for rats) or rat
cages (for mice) that animals have regular access
to can promote better welfare and a wider range of
behaviours in rodents.
The refinements presented here, along with other
refinements such as less restrictive handling and good
socialisation protocols, are simple ways to immediately
improve the welfare of laboratory rodents and contribute
to them having a better lifetime experience. Over a longer
time-frame, there are even more potential avenues
to explore, many of which should be the ultimate
goal for how animals are used in future, for example,
providing options which allow animals to free-range,
training animals to voluntarily participate in procedures
and using pets which naturally develop conditions for
studying diseases rather than created models. Taking
steps like these to give animals a good life is not only
our duty but should be considered a prerequisite for
their use, and a starting point around which we build
our research programmes.
Home Office update
Charlotte Inman, Animals in Science Regulation
Unit (ASRU)
Under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act in the UK,
any application to use animals in research is subject to a
harm-benefit analysis, to ensure that any harm that may
be caused to the animals is justified by the expected
benefits for humans, animals or the environment.
The experience of animals used under ASPA can be
influenced by project-related effects (effects which are
specific to the regulated procedures undertaken) and
contingent effects (those which inherently arise from
the experimental or scientific use of an animal). The
net impact of these two groups of effects determine
the cumulative severity of an animal’s experience over
the course of its use. The use of severity classification
is required by law and qualifies the likely (prospective),
ongoing (during procedures) and actual nature of the
experience of an animal. Understanding the cumulative
nature of animal experiences presents multiple
opportunities to influence the likely and actual severity
experiences of animals in science.
When considering cumulative experience, there is often
a focus on the project-related effects, for example,
in the case of administration of a substance, factors
such as the route, the nature of the substance and the
frequency can all have an impact, as will the application
of good practices such as single-use needles and the
use of anaesthesia and analgesia. However, contingent
effects can also have a significant impact, especially
as they may affect animals prior to their use and
between and after procedures. Contingent effects
may be broader than project-related effects, such as
provision of food and water, including refinements such
as the provision of wet mash post-surgery, handling,
enrichment and housing conditions.
Animal Technologists can have a major impact on how
both project-related and contingent effects impact
animals, as they can provide highly valuable expert
input due to their specific qualifications and exposure
to continuing professional development. Animal
Technologists will also see a broad range of studies
involving a range of species and so are well-placed to
identify opportunities for translational refinements or
changes in practice across different studies or species.
Finally, they are involved across the lifetime of an animal,
not just when the animal is being used for an experiment
and so are able to consider how to make incremental
improvements to an animal’s lifetime experience.
Report of the 2020 RSPCA/UFAW rodent and rabbit welfare meeting
30
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
Often, improvements to animals’ lives can be made
that are not necessarily written into project licenses and
Animal Technologists can be key in identifying these.
For example, re-using needles for procedures can
cause animals unnecessary pain and tissue damage,
and can have a significant impact on cumulative
experience. A survey by ASRU in 2019 found that 73%
of establishments were aware of this issue and that
needle re-use was occurring in 35% of establishments
and establishment culture was a major reason for this.
Another example of the importance of the impact of
animal care staff on cumulative experience is the use
of refined handling methods for mice. An ASRU themed
inspection in 2019 found that 59% of establishments
were only using these non-aversive methods of handling
and that the primary factor for the success of these
methods was engagement of Animal Technologists
and agreement over the need for change. The best
motivation for that change therefore came from
within the technologist community. These examples
demonstrate how important the role of the Animal
Technologist is in helping to identify and implement
positive change for animals.
Animal Technologists have the relevant professional
background, interact with animals across their lifetimes
and are likely to interact with animals more frequently
than researchers. They are also closely involved in the
care of experimental animals before, during, between
and after their use, and so have the opportunity to
make a really positive impact on animal cumulative
experiences through their input on both the project-
specific and procedural effects. It is therefore important
that animal technologists are empowered to make this
positive contribution.
Interactive discussion
The final session of the day was an interactive
discussion around the topic ‘how do we know if
cumulative suffering is present in rodents cage-side?’.
A brief survey of audience members at the start of the
session showed that over 85% of the audience felt that
cumulative severity was an issue for at least some, if
not all their animals, but only 42% felt that they would
be confident in identifying indicators of cumulative
severity and just 38% said their establishment’s welfare
assessment systems included indicators that detect
cumulative effects. The discussion therefore focussed
on indicators that can be used to identify cumulative
effects.
Some of the possible signs that may indicate issues
with cumulative welfare which were suggested by
participants included body condition, weight, posture
and activity and it was agreed that activity levels, as well
as particular activities or behaviours like nest building,
can be used as indicators of cumulative welfare. This
may especially apply to abnormal behaviours such
as stereotypic behaviours, barbering or aggression.
Another suggestion was that behavioural diversity and
circadian rhythms, can be disrupted in response to
stress or chronic stress, so noticing these changes can
help identify poor welfare. Participants also discussed
how an animal’s response to handling or other human
interactions may change in response to a cumulative
welfare issue, although these changes are difficult
to quantify and capture but are usually recognised by
technologists who have the experience to recognise
when an animal is ‘just not right’.
Given the difficulty of quantifying some of these
indicators, it was suggested that a way to help monitor
some of them on welfare assessment score sheets
would be free-text boxes, so that signs which do not
appear on the lists of indicators but are recognised by
technologists can be recorded. It was also suggested
that score sheets should include a list of procedures
done so that those interacting with an animal can
see what the animal has previously experienced and
that procedures which are not necessarily part of an
experiment and may be thought of as ‘routine’, such as
biopsies and marking for identification, may still affect
animals and therefore should be included on such a list.
The discussion also covered how animals can be
monitored to identify cumulative welfare indicators.
For example, it was suggested that refined handling
methods can be a useful tool, as some indicators of
poor welfare are likely to be easier to notice when using
these low-stress techniques. Another point was the
importance of the timing of monitoring: it was noted
that animals are often looked at for only short periods
and sometimes during the day when they are asleep.
We therefore may need to think more about observing
animals for longer periods of time or increasing the
number of observations and using up-to-date home
cage monitoring technologies and methods, as well
as using reversed light-cycles if not already doing so
(although this does not remove all issues (see Hawkins
and Golledge
39
). It was agreed that it is generally more
relevant to look at animals during their active phase
and sometimes 100% of certain behaviours can be
missed if animals are only monitored during the light
phase. However, if there is some reason where animals
cannot be monitored in the dark phase or if animals are
being monitored in the light phase immediately after a
procedure, placing animals in a playpen can be helpful.
This is because animals are generally very active in the
playpen even during the light phase, so lack of activity
in a playpen can help to identify issues.
One final question that was raised by the participants
was how the effects of ageing and cumulative welfare
can be separated. On the one hand, it was felt that
the ageing process is part of an animal’s lifetime
experiences and so its effects cannot be separated
Report of the 2020 RSPCA/UFAW rodent and rabbit welfare meeting
31
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
from other aspects of cumulative welfare. On the other
hand, it was considered important to compare amongst
animals of the same age group to ensure that indicators
which would not be accepted in a younger animal are
not ignored simply because the animal is older. One
participant also added that the beneficial effects of
exercise for older animals are under-estimated and that
these may help limit some of the negative effects of
ageing.
The discussion session closed with a general agreement
that of all the possible refinements and interventions
presented over the course of the day, the use of heat
maps to assess cumulative severity was the one that
most participants wished to try and implement in their
own establishments.
Action Points
Ask how your establishment keeps up to speed
with new developments in animal welfare science.
Does the Named Information Officer (NIO) have the
resources they need; how does the AWERB access
information; are there any researchers who work in
related fields?
Recognise the importance of considering how
an animal’s cumulative experiences might affect
that animal’s response to further procedures or
experiences. You may like to raise the issue at your
establishment, e.g, via the AWERB.
Consider whether an animal’s prior or cumulative
experiences may cause some procedures or projects
to exceed their severity limit.
Assessing the severity of procedures, consider:
how many clinical signs is the animal displaying?
how long has each sign been present?
how close is each sign to the humane endpoint?
what is the combined effect on the actual
severity?
Review colony ‘all-cause’ morbidity and mortality
data to see if there are any indicators that animals
may be experiencing poor cumulative welfare which
can be addressed but take mortality very seriously
and prioritise preventing this.
Stereotypic behaviours and ‘inactive-but-awake’
behaviours indicate poor welfare and staff should
keep an eye out for these indicators.
Keep a lookout for signs of sensitisation, such as
exaggerated response to a ‘routine procedure’ or
depression, such as inactivity or no longer using
enrichment, which may suggest an animal is no
longer coping with life in the laboratory.
Monitor group-housed male mice for signs of inter-
male aggression and remember that aggression is
frequently under-estimated. If aggressive male mice
must be housed singly, provide individuals with extra
bedding to help avoid cold stress.
Try and find foods which your animals enjoy eating to
help train animals to voluntarily ingest substances
for experiments - or to use as treats.
Include enrichment items which provide cognitive
stimulation and allow animals to exercise.
Try to incorporate low-stress handling into your
interactions with laboratory rats and mice to improve
human-animal interactions. Challenge assumptions
that habituation and training (for both animals and
humans) will take too long.
Provide preferred forms of litter, nesting material
and enrichment to your animals, such as shredded
paper over corncob bedding for mice and a mix of
nest-building materials, and hut-type shelters for
rats. You can research preferences in the literature
or you should be supported to do your own trials.
Try giving rodents a dish or other demarcated area
to use as a latrine to keep the cage clean and
minimise how often animals have to be disturbed
for cage change.
If animals cannot be housed in larger, more enriched
cages, repurpose old cages and toys to create a
playpen and give your animals regular access to
this.
Acknowledgements
Thank you to all the speakers and online participants
and to UFAW for providing the meeting platform.
References
1
Animals in Science Committee Harm-Benefit
Analysis Sub-Group (2017) Review of Harm-Benefit
Analysis in the Use of Animals in Research, Animals
in Science Committee.
2
Stevens C., Finnegan E., Clarkson J. et al. (2020)
Report of the 2019 RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare
meeting. Animal Technology and Welfare, Vol. 19,
101–111.
3
Gaskill B.N., Karas A.Z., Garner J.P. & Pritchett-
Corning K.R. (2013) Nest building as an indicator
of health and welfare in laboratory mice. Journal of
Visualized Experiments, Vol. 82, e51012.
4
Bateson M. & Poirier C. (2019) Can biomarkers of
biological age be used to assess cumulative lifetime
experience? Animal Welfare, Vol. 28, 41–56.
5
Poirier C., Bateson M., Gualtieri F. et al. (2019)
Validation of hippocampal biomarkers of
cumulative affective experience. Neuroscience and
Biobehavioral Reviews, Vol. 101, 113–121.
6
Sierakowiak A., Mattsson A., Gómez-Galán M. et
al. (2015) Hippocampal morphology in a rat model
of depression: the effects of physical activity. Open
Neuroimaging Journal, Vol. 9, 1–6.
7
Rahman M.M., Callaghan C.K., Kerskens C.M.,
Chattarji S. & O’Mara S.M. (2016) Early hippocampal
Report of the 2020 RSPCA/UFAW rodent and rabbit welfare meeting
32
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
volume loss as a marker of eventual memory deficits
caused by repeated stress. Scientific Reports, Vol.
6, 29127.
8
Yun J., Koike H., Ibi D. et al. (2010) Chronic restraint
stress impairs neurogenesis and hippocampus-
dependent fear memory in mice: possible involvement
of a brain-specific transcription factor Npas4. Journal
of Neurochemistry, Vol. 114, 1840–1851.
9
Malmkvist J., Brix B., Henningsen K. & Wiborg
O. (2012) Hippocampal neurogenesis increase
with stereotypic behavior in mink (Neovison vison).
Behavioural Brain Research, Vol. 229, 359–364.
10
Bechard A.R., Cacodcar N., King M.A. & Lewis M.H.
(2016) How does environmental enrichment reduce
repetitive motor behaviors? Neuronal activation and
dendritic morphology in the indirect basal ganglia
pathway of a mouse model. Behavioural Brain
Research, Vol. 299, 122–131.
11
Gottlieb D.H., Coleman K. & McCowan B. (2013)
The Effects of Predictability in Daily Husbandry
Routines on Captive Rhesus Macaques (Macaca
mulatta). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Vol.
143, 117–127.
12
Greco B.J., Meehan C.L., Hogan J.N. et al. (2016)
The Days and Nights of Zoo Elephants: Using
Epidemiology to Better Understand Stereotypic
Behavior of African Elephants (Loxodonta africana)
and Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus<i/>) in North
American Zoos. PLOS One, Vol. 11, e0144276.
13
Fureix C., Walker M., Harper L. et al. (2016)
Stereotypic behaviour in standard non-enriched
cages is an alternative to depression-like responses
in C57BL/6 mice. Behavioural Brain Research, Vol.
305, 186–190.
14
Nip E., Adcock A., Nazal B. et al. (2019) Why are
enriched mice nice? Investigating how environmental
enrichment reduces agonism in female C57BL/6,
DBA/2, and BALB/c mice. Applied Animal Behaviour
Science, Vol. 217, 73–82.
15
Walker M.D., Duggan G., Roulston N., Van Slack A.
& Mason G. (2012) Negative affective states and
their effects on morbidity, mortality and longevity.
Animal Welfare, Vol. 21, 497–509.
16
Leserman J. (2008) Role of depression, stress, and
trauma in HIV disease progression. Psychosomatic
Medicine, Vol. 70, 539–545.
17
Satin J.R., Linden W. & Phillips M.J. (2009)
Depression as a predictor of disease progression
and mortality in cancer patients: a meta-analysis.
Cancer, Vol. 115, 5349–5361.
18
Cavigelli S.A. & McClintock M.K. (2003) Fear of
novelty in infant rats predicts adult corticosterone
dynamics and an early death. Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences of the United States
of America, Vol. 100, 16131–16136.
19
Diener E. & Chan M.Y. (2011) Happy people live
longer: Subjective wellbeing contributes to health
and longevity. Applied Psychology: Health and
Wellbeing, Vol. 3, 1–43.
20
Bice B.D., Stephens M.R., Georges S.J. et al.
(2017) Environmental Enrichment Induces Pericyte
and IgA-Dependent Wound Repair and Lifespan
Extension in a Colon Tumor Model. Cell Reports, Vol.
19, 760–773.
21
Lewejohann L., Schwabe K., Häger C. & Jirkof
P. (2020) Impulse for animal welfare outside the
experiment. Laboratory Animals, Vol. 54, 150–158.
22
Habedank A., Urmersbach B., Kahnau P. &
Lewejohann L. (2020) O mouse, where art thou?
The Mouse Position Surveillance System (MoPSS) -
an RFID based tracking system. bioRxiv, 379719.
23
Kahnau P., Habedank A., Diederich K. &
Lewejohann L. (2020) Behavioral Methods for
Severity Assessment. Animals, Vol. 10, 1136.
24
Gaskill B.N., Stottler A., Pritchett-Corning K.R. et
al. (2016) He’s getting under my skin! Comparing the
sensitivity and specificity of dermal vs subcuticular
lesions as a measure of aggression in mice. Applied
Animal Behaviour Science, Vol. 183, 77–85.
25
Kappel S., Hawkins P. & Mendl M.T. (2017) To
Group or Not to Group? Good Practice for Housing
Male Laboratory Mice. Animals, Vol. 7, 88.
26
Van Loo P.L.P., Van Zutphen L.F.M. & Baumans V.
(2003) Male management: Coping with aggression
problems in male laboratory mice. Laboratory
Animals, Vol. 37, 300–313.
27
Lidster K., Owen K., Browne W.J. & Prescott M.J.
(2019) Cage aggression in group-housed laboratory
male mice: an international data crowdsourcing
project. Scientific Reports, Vol. 9, 15211.
28
Jirkof P., Bratcher N., Medina L. et al. (2020) The
effect of group size, age and handling frequency
on inter-male aggression in CD 1 mice. Scientific
Reports, Vol. 10, 2253.
29
Scarborough J., Mueller F., Arban R. et al. (2020)
Preclinical validation of the micropipette-guided
drug administration (MDA) method in the maternal
immune activation model of neurodevelopmental
disorders. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Vol. 88,
461–470.
30
Sauer M., Fleischmann T., Lipiski M., Arras M. &
Jirkof P. (2016) Buprenorphine via drinking water
and combined oral-injection protocols for pain relief
in mice. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Vol.
185, 103–112.
31
Expert Working Group on Retrospective Severity
Assessment (2012) National Competent Authorities
for the implementation of Directive 2010/63/EU
on the protection of animals used for scientific
purposes: Working document on a severity
assessment framework EU Commission.
32
Gouveia K. & Hurst J.L. (2013) Reducing mouse
anxiety during handling: effect of experience with
handling tunnels. PLOS One, Vol. 8, e66401.
33
Cloutier S., LaFollette M.R., Gaskill B.N., Panksepp
J. & Newberry R.C. (2018) Tickling, a Technique for
Inducing Positive Affect When Handling Rats. Journal
of Visualized Experiments, Vol. 135, e57190.
Report of the 2020 RSPCA/UFAW rodent and rabbit welfare meeting
33
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
34
Makowska I.J. & Weary D.M. (2020) A Good Life for
Laboratory Rodents? ILAR Journal, Vol. 00, 1–16.
35
Freymann J., Tsai P.-P., Stelzer H. & Hackbarth H.
(2017) The impact of bedding volumes on laboratory
mice. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Vol. 186,
72–79.
36
Makowska I.J., Franks B., El-Hinn C., Jorgensen T.
& Weary D.M. (2019) Standard laboratory housing
for mice restricts their ability to segregate space
into clean and dirty areas. Scientific Reports, Vol. 9,
6179.
37
Sherwin C.M. (2002) Comfortable quarters for mice
in research institutions. Comfortable Quarters for
Laboratory Animals, Vol. 9, 6–17.
38
Makowska I.J. & Weary D.M. (2016) The importance
of burrowing, climbing and standing upright for
laboratory rats. Royal Society Open Science, Vol. 3,
160136.
39
Hawkins P. & Golledge H.D.R. (2018) The 9 to 5
Rodent – Time for Change? Scientific and animal
welfare implications of circadian and light effects on
laboratory mice and rats. Journal of Neuroscience
Methods, Vol. 300, 20–25.
Report of the 2020 RSPCA/UFAW rodent and rabbit welfare meeting
34
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
35
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareApril 2021 Animal Technology and Welfare
Emotional challenges in our work with
laboratory animals: tools that support
caring for others and yourself
ANGELA KERTON
1
and JORDI L TREMOLEDA
2,3
1
The Learning Curve (Development) Ltd, PO Box 140, Ware, Hertfordshire SG9 0ZN UK
2
The Blizard Institute, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, 4 Newark St,
London E1 2AT UK
3
Biological Services, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, 4 Newark St,
London E1 2AT UK
Correspondence: angela@learningcurvedevelopment.co.uk
Abstract
Inevitably, most of us who work with laboratory animals
will sometimes form bonds with the animals we are
caring for. These relationships will positively enhance
the care and wellbeing of the animals’ but they also
pose important emotional challenges, as was clearly
exposed with some contingency managements
associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important
that the industry acknowledge the existence of these
bonds and provide institutional support mechanisms to
help Animal Technologists to deal with the emotional
challenges of their profession. Current COVID-19
associated working logistics pose further challenges
such as delegation of responsibilities, separation of
working teams and contingency management of stock
to name but a few, along with the individual health and
social, economic and personal relationship challenges.
This article provides some tools and ideas to support a
more open, communicative and emotionally-supportive
working environment. The importance of ‘self-care’
is also discussed. There is a growing commitment to
nurture a Culture of Care, and supporting our colleagues
by raising awareness of our emotional challenges may
support this.
Introduction
Working within the animal research sector and dealing
with a range of associated professional responsibilities
can impact our emotions. It is important that staff
recognise this and practice ‘self-care’ but equally know
where and when to ask for additional support when it is
needed. Emotional stressors in the work environment
can influence our professional and personal integrity,
directly affecting how we carry out our responsibilities
and can change our attitude towards colleagues and
the animals we are working with. Therefore, seeking
a better acknowledgment and understanding of such
emotional challenges and how to best manage them is
crucial. We hope that by exploring supporting tools to
promote openness and emotional resilience, like the
use of mindfulness to reduce stress and supporting
individual and team reflective practice will provide better
coping mechanisms.
Animal-human interactions directly influence the
behaviour of the animals; this is in part associated with
the dependence relationship between the animal and
carer, as it is seen through habituation and positive
reinforcement practices.
1
This connection can affect
positively the impact the research outcomes as such
‘positive’ animal and human bond have a ‘profound’
influence on the animals’ behaviour and physiology.
2
Yet,
continuing carrying of such bonds accounts important
professional responsibilities. These expectations are
to be maintained even in critical challenging personal
and professional scenarios, like the current COVID-19
scenario (e.g. different working set ups, increase
responsibilities and decision making, higher pressure
and expectation, professional uncertainties, etc).
Such animal-human bonds remain at the core of the
empathetic challenge, as the stronger the bond the
more robust the caring activity may be but also the more
distressful the execution of experimental procedures
or contingency decision (e.g. culling) can be.
3
The
COVID-19 pandemic has forced many institutions to
scale back operations including animal research. Staff
have been faced with difficult decisions over what to do
with research animals amid lockdowns, exacerbated by
uncertainty on contingency provision for funding support
and the unpredictability of the length of the lockdown.
4,5
36
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
Emotional challenges affect us
personally and professionally
The relationship between laboratory animals and
professional staff who work with them has a
overwhelming impact on the animals’ wellbeing, as
well as on the emotional health of staff including
veterinarian, caretakers, researchers and other support
staff. Stressors like lack of support and communication,
excessive workload, changes on working patterns,
delivery of expectations
4
need to be managed to
promote an appropriate balance between expectations,
motivation and excessive pressure to avoid leading to
work-related stress. Indeed, working with other sentient
beings’ lives and their wellbeing following the human-
induced experimental procedures that can cause harm
or distress remains a major emotional challenge. This
is also pressured by existing regulatory frameworks
and
increasing social accountability.
6,7
All this exposes the
vulnerability of individual moral attitudes on care and
compassion, along with the professional expectations
and accountability.
Emotional stressors, particularly those associated
with critically harmful interventions and/or the need
to humanely euthanise animals make a significant
contribution to the development of so called compassion
fatigue.
8,9
This associated ‘reduced awareness/
capacity in being empathetic’ may evolve in less caring
attitudes and further physical and emotional distress
and exhaustion.
10,11
Importantly,
such reduced empathy
for others will diminish the quality of care towards the
animals but also towards colleagues. Such emotional
challenges can lead to what is associated with
‘compassion fatigue’, commonly recognised as a type
of stress that results from helping or wanting to help
those who are experiencing significant pain, suffering
and distress or are themselves under significant
emotional duress. Compassion fatigue symptoms
can lead to lack of communication, excessive blaming,
isolation from others, and excessive complaining
attitudes that can easily progress towards bottling
up emotions, and mental and physical tiredness and
depression.
12
Compassion fatigue is considered as form of burnout,
associated with our social and professional interactions.
Possibly it would be also more accurate to refer to
empathy fatigue rather that compassion fatigue, as
it is empathy that fatigues (tires), in care givers, not
compassion.
13
Our aim is to provide guidance on supporting tools and
avenues to help the community to speak out and build
up resilience. We wish to raise awareness of specific
mental health challenges in the current COVID-19
working environment and how discussion of these
can be facilitated within an emotionally supportive
workplace environment. For example, it is important
that strategies to minimise euthanasia stress (that
Emotional challenges in our work with laboratory animals
may contribute to empathy/compassion fatigue) are
embedded in workplace cultures, including an open
atmosphere to encourage dialogue and expressions
of grief, strong social support networks, explanations
as to the necessity for the research and openness in
the recruitment and training phase of the occupational
requirements involved in animal-based research,
including euthanasia.
14-17
Using compassion skills for
managing our emotional challenges
High quality and conscientious animal care is good for
the animals, science, Animal Technologists and public
perception of research facilities. There are cross overs
between different professions involved with providing
a high degree of direct care during their day jobs and
the potential for them to become ‘over attached’ or
‘emotionally vulnerable’ to specific work cases or
situations they may encounter. Emotional burn-out and
empathy fatigue are widely reported across a wide
range of professions including care-workers, hospital
workers, veterinary staff and medics.
18,19
Such situations can challenge mental health including
our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. This
affects how people and animals think, feel, and act. It
also influences how we handle stress, relate to others
and make choices. In such situations it is important
to promote a positive mental health approach allowing
people to realise their full potential, cope with the
stresses of life, work productively and make meaningful
contributions to their communities.
Figure 1. Compassion fatigue.
37
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareEmotional challenges in our work with laboratory animals
So, how can we make such working environment more
‘emotionally supportive’? Well recognised techniques for
compassion skills are found in mindfulness meditation
programmes which strengthen the need to provide
personal space and tools to promote individual and
group communication across all different professional
layers. Even with short periods of compassion training,
participants continue to feel empathy for the suffering
of others but gain the capacity to feel positive emotions
without feeling distress.
20
A practical insight into mindfulness
Mindfulness can be described as being ‘fully aware
of the present moment’, you are free from distraction
and can be more focussed on even the simplest of
tasks. Thoughts may still be ‘flowing in the mind’ but
you accept these thoughts without judgement or critical
reflection.
There are many resources which are freely available
outlining the practice of mindfulness in more detail,
these include books, online courses, apps and video
tutorials. Many community groups or adult education
centres (even organisational education CPD centres)
offer courses on Mindfulness, many of them on a
reduced budget or free of charge. The NHS also has a
very useful resource centre on this topic https://www.
nhs.uk/conditions/mental-health/self-help/tips-and-
support/mindfulness/
Mindfulness practice
Starting your day with a mindfulness practice can help
charge your batteries with energy that you can draw on
throughout the day. Spend time focusing inwards and
connecting with yourself to charge yourself up. Choose
from one of the suggested mindfulness practices listed
below. This practice need not be long, even a few
seconds to take some deep breaths can be helpful.
(i) Three minute mindful breathing space
One minute for ACKNOWLEDGING what is happening
and how you are feeling.
One minute for GATHERING your awareness around
your breath.
One minute for EXPANDING awareness of your
breath into your body – notice where you feel your
breath most in your body.
(ii) Mindful check-in
Whilst either sitting down or standing up, start to
focus on your breath.
Once you feel comfortable focussing on your breath,
move your focus into your body.
Notice any physical sensations you have.
If any of these sensations are overwhelming, move
your focus to the feet – the feet are not generally
affected by stress.
Go on to notice any thoughts, feelings or emotions
you are having. There is no need to engage with
them, just notice they are there.
Finally, return to your breath for the last few
moments.
Simple tips for boosting your mood
1. Find the good stuff
Each night, write down 3 things you are grateful for or
enjoyed. Some people call this a ‘gratitude journal’, by
writing down these thoughts it helps emphasise your
feelings and focusses your thoughts. Take time to
reflect on these thoughts and how they make you feel.
2. Take a walk
Moving our bodies and getting daylight (especially as the
short days draw in during the winter months) helps to
lift our mood and clears our mind. The simple pleasures
of being more aware of our surroundings, interacting
with the elements and exploring new places can have a
positive effect on our mood.
3. Ask for help
If you have a problem or something is worrying you, then
ask for support. Knowing when to ask for help is not a
sign of defeat or failure, it is a sign of your inner strength
than demonstrates that you aware of your mental health
and are making decisions not to let it deteriorate.
Asking others to help can build a connection, provides
opportunity for discussion and gives them a wellbeing
boost too! Think ‘Good Karma’ – when a person does
something good and that individual’s positive actions
seem to lead to positive consequences. Doing someone
a favour activates the ‘feel-good reward centre’ in the
brain, so not only does the person receiving the favour
(or support) feel the benefit, the person performing the
action does too!
Figure 2: Mindfulness
38
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
The NHS website also contains some excellent ‘Stress
Busting’ ideas and also links to ‘Stress busting
apps’ https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-
depression/reduce-stress/ The main author of this
resource says the keys to good stress management
are building emotional strength, being in control of your
situation, having a good social network and adopting
a positive outlook.
Self-care – a mindful poem to
reflect on
Derek Walcott was a Caribbean poet and playwright
who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in
1992. His poem ‘Love after love’ is about being at
ease with yourself, and loving who you are. It is also
about owning all of your stories, experiences, strengths
and weaknesses – and treating them with respect,
compassion and love. It is often cited as a ‘Mindfulness
poem’ and it serves as an anchor to reflect on.
How to enhance workplace
communication tools
Alongside your employer, you should recognise that
you have a joint responsibility to look after your own
wellbeing and that of your colleagues. Managers
should be aware of triggers and risk factors for all
team members and work to reduce them. Workplaces
should foster and support a Culture of Care nurturing
mental and physical safety, embracing OPENNESS and
COMMUNICATION across all the team players.
Such levels of empathetic openness can only proceed
when staff feel emotionally/physically safe and valued.
21
This caring professional attitude must be well supported
by an organised institutional system and as such it
translates into proactive management actions and good
communication. Providing a safe space where the staff
can share and reflect on any personal experiences at
work, individually or in group and analysing them openly
can inform learning towards an attitude of care. Such
experiences can be, for example, monitoring, husbandry
or clinical duties with the animals, reading a research
article, managing order suppliers, attending a staff
meeting, or a debrief with your manager. Team exploration
and interactive reflection is crucial to improve care across
the institution and build-up strength on staff expertise
as individuals with different responsibilities will identify
different issues and effects on their behaviour. Group
reflection activities should be encouraged in the training
schemes, along with protecting physical space and time
for this, to support all staff categories, including senior
management.
Figure 3: Love after love, a mindful poem.
Figure 4: Positive open communication is key to
success.
Communication across all staff levels including senior
researchers is also crucial. Engaging communication
across different levels of expertise will facilitate a
broader perspective analysis e.g. understanding the
best husbandry practice is as relevant as publishing a
scientific paper.
22
Hence any discussion or educational
platforms must facilitate communication across the
different roles and responsibilities in animal research.
How to promote open discussions
at work
Displaying emotions is complex in the working
environment and possibly more complex within a
laboratory animal set up which often feel formally
focussed on compliance and biosafety regulations.
Emotional challenges in our work with laboratory animals
39
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareEmotional challenges in our work with laboratory animals
This atmosphere would not seem to most to be an
accommodating space for switching off and to openly
reflect, sharing personal thoughts and concerns with
colleagues. Thus, common areas need to be protected
as generally this type of space in the units is prioritised
for catering or bench administrative duties, resulting
in limited social ‘relaxation’ space compounded with
restricted natural lightning, (which can be beneficial
for mood enhancement). Outside of work there are
often only limited spaces where staff feel comfortable
discussing their work and its emotional impact. On a
positive note, emotions can be contagious and as such,
can be shared within the group; communication breaks
for teams are crucial and must be encouraged and time
protected. Promoting openness relies also on providing
a tolerant, respectful and safe space!
Laboratory animal professionals do not talk openly in
public about their chosen career pathway for fear of
disproval or personal security concerns. This may lead to
feelings of ‘suppression’ and even ‘shame’ for working in
a little understood professional sector being performed
behind closed doors with little positive reports or career
models openly highlighted. To help counteract this, many
UK professional associations, such as The Institute of
Animal Technology, have recently campaigned tirelessly
for the recognition of animal care staff as ‘key workers’
in the biomedical field in views of their instrumental
work during the COVID-19 emergency.
23,24
Individual pro-action remains one of the key pillars of
emotional balance. Techniques such as encouraging
expression of emotion in a suitably controlled
environment – openness without judgement, positive
learning to personal experiences, changing towards
optimist patterns, good judgement on specific
situations, personal acceptance and avoid comparison
with others (everyone is different!), build up pride in
any small or large job, better involvement across your
working routine, participative engagement with your
colleagues and encourage emotional connections.
Some organisations have chosen to display a voluntary
‘healthy workplace’ poster to help demonstrate their
commitments to mental health and to encourage staff
to talk openly about their feelings and any challenges
they may face in the workplace. Such posters can be
used to highlight the core principles and key resources
every workplace should have.
Discussion
A healthy workplace is vital to allow Animal Technologists
to fulfil their professional obligations and continue
to safeguard animal health and welfare and public
health. It is vitally important to preserve the caring
attitude displayed by animal staff and researchers. The
Institute of Animal Technology has released supportive
guidelines to support the mental health of Animal
Technologists as they adapt to a range of new working
measures but also highlighting the need to protect their
work/life balance.
25
Figure 5: ‘Healthy workplace’ poster example.
HEALTH AND WELLBEING PROMOTING A POSITIVE CULTURE
Establish a good physical and mental wellbeing at the workplace, supportive of the needs of all team members.
Personal safety always taking precedence, including over professional responsibilities- proactively manage workplace
stress.
Support, encourage and celebrate a good work-life balance - promote a culture of respecting personal health.
Establish regular meetings (best one-to-one) to discuss current workload, agree priorities and raise other concerns in an
informal environment; considering the value of resilience training, for individuals or the entire team.
A culture of emotional safety, in which all team members’ mental health and wellbeing are supported. No tolerance of
prejudicial, discriminatory or offensive language - ensure a fair, respectful and equal treatment of all team members.
Mitigate the potential risks posed by emotional burden and empathetic fatigue, signposting appropriate helplines and
support groups and making sure that all team members are aware of the support available.
A positive workplace where staff communicates and shared values and attitudes
Embrace the emotional challenges of our work with laboratory animals, being aware of the impact on personal and
professional lives , and also the impact on the wider community .
40
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
In this article we have also highlighted the importance
for providing better opportunities for frank discussions
on this sensitive topic, promoting better communication
platforms. One of the UK’s leading mental health charities
has the following quotation on its website: “In the past
six years I have had counselling, a brief attempt at CBT
[cognitive behavioural therapy] and routine meetings with
mental health doctors but the thing I have found most
helpful is open online forums full of people like me”.
It is very normal to feel fearful, anxious, low or irritable.
If you are having worrisome feelings, give yourself time
to reflect on them and accept that they are normal
reactions. Humans are programmed to respond to
things that are threatening. If you can give yourself time
to stay with your feelings for 60 seconds it will help
them dissipate. Instead of getting upset by your own
emotions, try to be kind to yourself and accepting of
your emotional reactions. Small acts of kindness not
only to others but to yourself can boost your mood.
Why not treat yourself? The ‘Buddy Box’ subscription
box service (https://www.blurtitout.org/buddybox) can
be used as a ‘small treat’ to yourself. The contents
of each box arrive each month and are designed to
counter the pressures we face in modern life. Packed
full of thoughtful, mood-lifting treats, the Buddy Box
comforts, delights and gives you that warm, ‘I’ve been
cared for’ feeling inside. In other words – it’s a hug in
a box. However there are many other ways to practise
‘self-care on a budget’ and there are several good
ideas here for you to consider https://www.blurtitout.
org/2016/03/30/self-care-budget-10-things-try/
The implementation of simple but effective approaches
like secure discussion groups, virtual ‘coffee support
groups’ and face to face training will represent
an important step forward to assist with building
emotional resilience. By learning that ‘It’s OK not to
be OK’ and communicating personal emotions, it is
still possible to be proud ambassadors for the care
and welfare of the animals studied as vital research
models. We feel it would be beneficial to discuss how
those closely working with animals can utilise some of
the above-mentioned approaches to support managing
emotion. To maintain good mental health and practise
resilience techniques, it is likely to be necessary to
improve staff’s self-confidence at communicating any
concerns on animal care and welfare and encourage
greater openness, particularly across technical staff
and researchers. The implementation of discussion
platforms and resilience training opportunities that we
have identified will improve not only animal welfare,
staff wellbeing, but also the integrity of our research.
References
1
Bloomsmith, M. A., Perlman, J. E., Hutchinson,
E. , Sharpless M. (2018) Behavioral Management
Programs to Promote Laboratory Animal Welfare.
In: Weichbrod RH, Thompson GA, Norton JN,
eds. Management of Animal Care and Use Programs
in Research, Education, and Testing. 2nd ed. Boca
Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 63–82.
2
Davis, H. (1996) How human/animal bonding affects
the animals. In: Kru-lisch L Mayer S Simmonds RC
eds. The Human\Research Animal Relationship.
Greenbelt MD : Scientists Center for Animal Welfare,
67 – 75.
3
Bayne, K. (2002) Development of the Human-
Research Animal Bond and Its Impact on Animal
Wellbeing, ILAR Journal, 43, 1, 4–9. https://doi.
org/10.1093/ilar.43.1.4
4
Grimm, D. (2020) It’s heartbreaking.’ Labs are
euthanizing thousands of mice in response to
coronavirus pandemic. American Association for the
Advancement of Science in Science. https://doi.
org/10.1126/science.abb8633
5
Nowogrodzki, A. (2020) Cull, release or bring them
home: Coronavirus crisis forces hard decisions
for labs with animals. Nature. 580, 7801, 19.
doi:10.1038/d41586-020-00964-y
6
Health & Safety Executive. (2019) Work-related
stress, anxiety or depression statistics in Great
Britain, 2019 https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/
causdis/stress.pdf [Accessed October 2020]
Figure 6: It’s okay, not to be okay. (image courtesy of
A. Kerton)
Emotional challenges in our work with laboratory animals
41
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareEmotional challenges in our work with laboratory animals
7
Home Office. (2014) Guidance on the operation
of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
Available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/
guidance-on-the-operation-of-the-animals-scientific-
procedures-act-1986 [Accessed October 2020]
8
Ipsos MORI. (2016) Attitudes to animal research
in 2016. Available at: https://www.ipsos.com/
ipsos-mori/en-uk/attitudes-animal-research-2016
[Accessed October 2020]
9
Cocker, F. & Joss, N. (2016) Compassion fatigue
among healthcare, emergency and community
service workers: a systematic review. Int J Environ
Res Public Health 13, 1–18.
10
Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project. (2017)
Recognising compassion fatigue. Available
at: http://www.compassionfatigue.org/pages/
symptoms.html [Accessed October 2020]
11
Scotney, R. L., McLaughlin, D., Keates, H. L. (2015)
A systematic review of the effects of euthanasia
and occupational stress in personnel working with
animals in animal shelters, veterinary clinics, and
biomedical research facilities. J Am Vet Med Assoc
247, 1121–1130. https://doi.org/10.2460/
javma.247.10.1121.
12
Mathieu, F. (2007) Running on empty: compassion
fatigue in health professionals. Available at:
http://www.compassionfatigue.org/pages/
RunningOnEmpty.pdf [Accessed October 2020]
13
Klimecki, O., Singer, T. (2011) Empathic distress
fatigue rather than compassion fatigue? Integrating
findings from empathy research in psychology
and social neuroscience. In: Oakley B, Knafo A,
Madhavan G, et al. eds. Pathological Altruism. New
York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1–23.
14
Institute of Animal Technology (IAT) (2020) Let’s
talk Euthanasia. Available at: https://6a18642f-
f788-41d5-acd0-7bcff8782988.filesusr.com/ugd/
a30180_a958a0feaf4b4904ba829846d330a9a9.
pdf [Accessed October 2020]
15
Davies, K., Lewis, D. (2010) Can caring for laboratory
animals be classified as emotional labour? Animal
Technology and Welfare 9, 1–6.
16
Overhulse, K. A. (2002) Coping with lab animal
morbidity and mortality: a trainer’s role. Lab Anim
(NY) 31, 39–42.
17
Rohlf, V., Bennett, P. (2005) Perpetration-induced
traumatic stress in persons who euthanize
nonhuman animals in surgeries, animal shelters,
and laboratories. Soc Anim 13, 201-219. https://
doi.org/10.1163/1568530054927753
18
Showalter, S. E. (2010) Compassion fatigue: what is
it? Why does it matter? Recognizing the symptoms,
acknowledging the impact, developing the tools to
prevent compassion fatigue, and strengthen the
professional already suffering from the effects.
Am J Hosp Palliat Care 27, 239–242. https://doi.
org/10.1177/1049909109354096
19
AALAS. Compassion Fatigue: The Cost of Caring.
Human emotions in the care of laboratory animals.
https://www.aalas.org/education/educational-
resources/cost-of-caring [Accessed October 2020]
20
Klimecki, O. M., Leiberg, S., Lamm, C., & Singer, T.
(2013) Functional neural plasticity and associated
changes in positive affect after compassion training.
Cereb Cortex 23, 1552–1561.
21
Heyhoe, J., Birks, Y., Harrison, R., O’Hara, J.K.,
Cracknell A. & Lawton R. (2016) The role of
emotion in patient safety: Are we brave enough to
scratch beneath the surface?. J R Soc Med.;109, 2,
52–58. doi:10.1177/0141076815620614
22
Reardon, S. (2016) A mouse’s house may ruin
experiments. Nature, 530 7590, 1. https://doi.
org/10.1038/nature.2016.19335
23
UK Research and Innovation.(2020) Guidance for
the research and innovation communities. Available
at: https://www.ukri.org/research/coronavirus/
guidance-for-the-research-and-innovation-
communities1/ [Accessed October 2020].
24
Department for Education. (2020) Key workers in
education letter. Available at: http://independenthe.
com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/200421-
COVID-19-Keyworkers-Letter.pdf [Accessed October
2020].
25
Institute of Animals Technology. (2020) It’s OK …
not to be Okay … Let’s Talk Coping with Change … A
Future of Hope …? Available at: https://www.iat.
org.uk/;https://6a18642f-f788-41d5-acd0-
7bcff8782988.filesusr.com/ugd/a30180_
84e91129693c42a79eca78dcfdd9acd7.pdf
[Accessed October 2020]
42
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
It’s OK … NOT TO BE OKAY
Let’s Talk Coping with Change … A Future of Hope …?
Since the 11th of March, when WHO declared Covid-19 had become a pandemic and government
advice led to a huge impact on businesses and personal lives. Businesses commenced lockdown
measures and implemented pandemic contingency plans. Animal Techs and others associated with
the industry were on the frontline continuing to provide excellent standards of care and welfare for
our animals used in scientific research.
For many Animal Technicians the implications of the contingency plans meant splitting into smaller
teams with extra workloads, working on a rota basis and working more irregular hours than usual.
Further pressures, such as being isolated from team members, scientists, managers and other
colleagues who would usually encourage us and support us with day-to-day issues, have also had an
impact on mental health and wellbeing. Some employees are trying to combine home schooling and
other family responsibilities with work responsibilities, leading to a poor work/life balance.
For many, factors such as social distancing and self-isolation, protecting vulnerable family members
and anxiety over family and friends also causes extra pressure and uncertainty. Many employees are
fearful about contracting the virus and many may have suffered bereavements during this time.
Organisations are stating that they do not yet know exactly what the long term mental health impacts
of Covid-19 will be. Early research (CIPD, May 2020 ) into the health impacts of lockdown found
increased levels of fatigue, musculoskeletal conditions, poor work/life balance, reduced exercise and
increased alcohol consumption. In addition to this, employees reported reduced motivation, loss of
purpose, anxiety and isolation. Evidence from previous quarantine situations prior to the pandemic
suggests that there are long lasting effects on mental health. Symptoms ranged from irritability and
anger, to depression and post-traumatic stress symptoms.
As many countries (including the UK) start to ease Coronavirus restrictions, BBC News reported
(Butterly 2020) that mental health experts are starting to see increased anxiety about what life will
be like after lockdown. While many people have developed their own routine of safety in lockdown,
creating a bubble around themselves, physically distancing themselves from family and friends, there
are bound to be uncertain feelings regarding what the future holds.
What can Employers do?
It is well known that many employees do not feel comfortable in speaking up about poor mental
health; this is unlikely to change following the pandemic.
Employers need to adapt a range of measures to support employees experiencing poor mental health
as a result of COVID-19. These will range from supporting employees to regain an effective work/life
balance and addressing fears about returning to work, right through to support for severe mental
health conditions.
Factors to consider as an Employer:
l offering long-term mental health support for those continuing to work in this essential role as
an Animal Technician
l continue to offer support for those who are currently working from home and may start to
return to work on a phased basis over the coming weeks and months
l provide an open culture where people feel able to talk
l provide safe working environments for employees in order to comply with Covid-19 guidelines
in the workplace
It’s OK … NOT TO BE OKAY … Let’s Talk Coping with Change … A Future of Hope …?
Mental Health
Awareness
www.iat.org.uk
What can Employees do?
l stay safe and follow government guidelines
l understand that it will be difficult to get back into a routine
l keep it simple, don’t rush back and overwhelm yourself with extra anxiety
l be open and talk to friends, family and your employer if you are finding easing back into life
after lockdown hard
l continue to report symptoms and self-isolate if any symptoms are developed
l be proud to have been an Animal Technician or in a supporting role during this time ensuring
continued levels of excellent animal welfare standards while supporting vital research
Future of Hope …
There are many who identify with the theory that in all of the sadness, anxiety and struggles that
Covid-19 has brought with it, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Communities have come
together in a way they have not before, caring, shopping, helping and looking after neighbours
and friends who have needed it. People have reached out to the lonely and isolated though social
media, window visits and doorstep chats, when required. Families have been able to spend more time
together and there is an increased appreciation for all front line workers from lorry drivers, postmen,
carers, etc ... to NHS staff .
When you do start to develop your own strategy to ease out of lockdown and find your own way
forward through the Covid-19 blur, please remember that YOU are a key worker and you should be
extremely proud to be an Animal Technician.
Useful links:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19
https://www.actionforhappiness.org/news/covid-19-how-to-respond
https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/
References:
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD 2020)
Mind.org.uk
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52443108
Institute of
Animal Technology
COUNCIL
43
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
It’s OK … NOT TO BE OKAY
Let’s Talk Coping with Change … A Future of Hope …?
Since the 11th of March, when WHO declared Covid-19 had become a pandemic and government
advice led to a huge impact on businesses and personal lives. Businesses commenced lockdown
measures and implemented pandemic contingency plans. Animal Techs and others associated with
the industry were on the frontline continuing to provide excellent standards of care and welfare for
our animals used in scientific research.
For many Animal Technicians the implications of the contingency plans meant splitting into smaller
teams with extra workloads, working on a rota basis and working more irregular hours than usual.
Further pressures, such as being isolated from team members, scientists, managers and other
colleagues who would usually encourage us and support us with day-to-day issues, have also had an
impact on mental health and wellbeing. Some employees are trying to combine home schooling and
other family responsibilities with work responsibilities, leading to a poor work/life balance.
For many, factors such as social distancing and self-isolation, protecting vulnerable family members
and anxiety over family and friends also causes extra pressure and uncertainty. Many employees are
fearful about contracting the virus and many may have suffered bereavements during this time.
Organisations are stating that they do not yet know exactly what the long term mental health impacts
of Covid-19 will be. Early research (CIPD, May 2020 ) into the health impacts of lockdown found
increased levels of fatigue, musculoskeletal conditions, poor work/life balance, reduced exercise and
increased alcohol consumption. In addition to this, employees reported reduced motivation, loss of
purpose, anxiety and isolation. Evidence from previous quarantine situations prior to the pandemic
suggests that there are long lasting effects on mental health. Symptoms ranged from irritability and
anger, to depression and post-traumatic stress symptoms.
As many countries (including the UK) start to ease Coronavirus restrictions, BBC News reported
(Butterly 2020) that mental health experts are starting to see increased anxiety about what life will
be like after lockdown. While many people have developed their own routine of safety in lockdown,
creating a bubble around themselves, physically distancing themselves from family and friends, there
are bound to be uncertain feelings regarding what the future holds.
What can Employers do?
It is well known that many employees do not feel comfortable in speaking up about poor mental
health; this is unlikely to change following the pandemic.
Employers need to adapt a range of measures to support employees experiencing poor mental health
as a result of COVID-19. These will range from supporting employees to regain an effective work/life
balance and addressing fears about returning to work, right through to support for severe mental
health conditions.
Factors to consider as an Employer:
l offering long-term mental health support for those continuing to work in this essential role as
an Animal Technician
l continue to offer support for those who are currently working from home and may start to
return to work on a phased basis over the coming weeks and months
l provide an open culture where people feel able to talk
l provide safe working environments for employees in order to comply with Covid-19 guidelines
in the workplace
It’s OK … NOT TO BE OKAY … Let’s Talk Coping with Change … A Future of Hope …?
Mental Health
Awareness
www.iat.org.uk
What can Employees do?
l stay safe and follow government guidelines
l understand that it will be difficult to get back into a routine
l keep it simple, don’t rush back and overwhelm yourself with extra anxiety
l be open and talk to friends, family and your employer if you are finding easing back into life
after lockdown hard
l continue to report symptoms and self-isolate if any symptoms are developed
l be proud to have been an Animal Technician or in a supporting role during this time ensuring
continued levels of excellent animal welfare standards while supporting vital research
Future of Hope …
There are many who identify with the theory that in all of the sadness, anxiety and struggles that
Covid-19 has brought with it, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Communities have come
together in a way they have not before, caring, shopping, helping and looking after neighbours
and friends who have needed it. People have reached out to the lonely and isolated though social
media, window visits and doorstep chats, when required. Families have been able to spend more time
together and there is an increased appreciation for all front line workers from lorry drivers, postmen,
carers, etc ... to NHS staff .
When you do start to develop your own strategy to ease out of lockdown and find your own way
forward through the Covid-19 blur, please remember that YOU are a key worker and you should be
extremely proud to be an Animal Technician.
Useful links:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19
https://www.actionforhappiness.org/news/covid-19-how-to-respond
https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/
References:
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD 2020)
Mind.org.uk
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52443108
Institute of
Animal Technology
COUNCIL
44
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
Abstract
The article describes the care of the Olive python (Liasis
olivaceus; including information on housing, feeding,
handling, as well as the general health care of these
animals. Some of the information presented is derived
from Standard Operating Procedures which have been
written by the author. It is hoped that the information
presented may assist novice Animal Technicians and
zookeepers who may be responsible for the care
of these species in an animal research facility or a
zoological setting.
This work has been made possible under Scientific
Licence number SL100342, held by Gary Martinic and
issued by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of
New South Wales.
Background
The Olive python is one of Australia’s largest snakes.
Fully grown adults can vary in size from 2-5 metres and
weigh between 10-20 kg. The body is thick and muscular
and the tail tapers to a thin point. Their colouring
ranges from a single colour of olive green to greenish-
brown, reddish-brown or ‘off-white’. They generally have
a whitish belly and pale lips. The distribution of Olive
pythons occurs from the Pilbarra region of Western
Australia through to Northern Queensland. They inhabit
a variety of habitats from arid plains to sub-humid
areas and are usually found in rocky areas and gorges
especially those associated with water courses. These
ground-dwelling snakes often inhabit rocks and caves
and may be found in hollow logs. Like other pythons,
these snakes are carnivores and kill their prey, usually
birds, mammals and reptiles, by coiling around the prey
and suffocating them before ingesting them whole.
They are not venomous. Large, adult Olive pythons
often consume mammals as large as rock wallabies.
Noting that rock wallabies range in weight from 1-12 kg
depending on the species. For instance the Monjon is
Husbandry and healthcare of the Olive
python (Liasis olivaceus)
GARY MARTINIC
Reptile House, K1 Animal Facility, Research Laboratories and Animal Facilities, Western Sydney
University, Hawkesbury Campus, Richmond NSW Australia
Correspondence: G.Martinic@westernsydney.edu.au
3
Figure 1. The inquisitive stare of an adult Olive python, in shed, as
seen through the glass panel doors of its enclosure. Some grains of
sand can be seen falling from the underside of its lower jaw.
(Courtesy: G.Martinic)
Background
The Olive python is one of Australia’s largest snakes. Fully grown
adults can vary in size from 2-5 metres and weigh between 10-20 kg.
The body is thick and muscular and the tail tapers to a thin point.
Their colouring ranges from a single colour of olive green to
Figure 1. The inquisitive stare of an adult Olive python,
in shed, as seen through the glass panel doors of its
enclosure. Some grains of sand can be seen falling from
the underside of its lower jaw. (Courtesy: G. Martinic)
the smallest rock wallaby weighing an average of 1.3kg,
whereas some males of the Yellow-footed rock wallaby
species can weigh between 11-12kg.
Clutches of up to 19 eggs are laid, the incubation period
being approximately 7 weeks. The sex of individuals is
determined by probing the inside of the cloaca (see
Figure 2; how to sex snakes using probes and obtain
Animal Technology and Welfare April 2021
45
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
the training video link cited under references). The type
of probe used is usually a 12-15 cm long surgical grade,
stainless steel instrument with a round polished 5 mm
ball tip (smaller ball tips are used for smaller snakes).
When inserting the probe into the cloaca, the depth
that the probe can be inserted indicates the presence
or absence of hemipenes. (Hemipenes are a pair of
intromittent organs in male snakes designed to deliver
sperm when erect during mating. They are usually held
inverted within the body of the snake but are everted
outside of the body for mating). If the probe only enters
1-3 scales deep, then there are no hemipenes and the
snake is female. If the probe can be inserted much
further (9-15 scales deep), then this indicates the
presence of hemipenes and the snake is male. The
K1 reptile facility specimens are all captive bred and
have an expected captive lifespan of approximately
30 years. The conservation status of the Olive python
is currently classified as ‘vulnerable’. Loss of habitat
and the depletion of food sources due to foxes and
Australia’s feral cat population are the main threats
to this species in the wild. Also, commonly mistaken
for the very venomous King brown snake (Pseudechis
australis), the Olive python is often killed by uninformed
humans due to mistaken identity.
Figure 2. Sexing of snakes using a probe. (Image
Courtesy: Zoological Society London)
1
.
Housing and environmental
conditions
For one adult Olive python, a 2.4m x 600 x 600 mm
enclosure is recommended (Figure 3). The one used
at the Reptile Facility, Western Sydney University has
these dimensions and was custom-built of large solid
wooden panels forming the sides, top and bottom of
the enclosure with solid shelving providing three levels
and it has two lockable glass panel doors at the front
of the enclosure. This is large enough for the animal to
uncoil and stretch out. A purpose-built solid wood hide
box is also provided with an entrance opening large
enough for the animal to enter without scratching its
scales. The water dish should be sufficiently heavy to
prevent it being tipped over and should be positioned
at the cooler end of the enclosure away from the heat
6
Figure 2. Sexing of snakes using a probe. (Image Courtesy:
Zoological Society London)
1
.
Housing and Environmental Conditions
For one adult Olive python, a 2.4m x 600 x 600 mm enclosure is
recommended (Figure 3). The one used at the Reptile Facility,
Western Sydney University, has these dimensions and was custom-
built of large solid wooden panels forming the sides, top and bottom
of the enclosure with solid shelving providing three levels and it has
two lockable glass panel doors at the front of the enclosure. This is
large enough for the animal to uncoil and stretch out. A purpose-built
solid wood hide box is also provided with an entrance opening large
enough for the animal to enter without scratching its scales. The
water dish should be sufficiently heavy to prevent it being tipped over
globes. The water container must be large enough for
the animal to soak itself in, if it chooses. Washed sand
is used as the substrate on each of the three levels of
the enclosure. Prior to using washed sand, we used
commercially-available Butcher’s paper, when this was
used we placed the paper 2-3 layers thick into each
level of the enclosure all of which was replaced weekly.
In the case of washed sand, a 1 inch (25 mm) layer
across the entire floor is provided and is spot cleaned
daily and replaced completely every 3 months.
The reptile rooms are maintained at constant
temperature of 22
o
C (+/- 2
o
C) and a relative humidity of
between 40-60%. The air conditioning system provides
ventilation at between 10-12 changes/hour, a positive
pressure is maintained.
Figure 3. Olive python’s three-level enclosure showing
wide opening glass panel doors at the front. The snake
can be seen through the glass doors coiled up at the front
of its enclosure. Note the sand substrate, water dish,
‘soaking’ dish, a custom-made wooden hide box (right), a
cardboard hide and enclosed infra-red and lighting globes
installed just below the top shelf. (Courtesy: G. Martinic)
Enclosure heating
Providing adequate temperature gradients within the Olive
python’s enclosure is essential for its health and wellbeing.
They require a temperature gradient so they can move
around the enclosure to where the temperature that suits
them. Olive pythons require a hot basking spot maintained
at approximately 34˚C. The cool end of the enclosure
should be maintained between 24-26˚C. The enclosure
should not drop below 18-21˚C at night. Temperatures
should be regulated by a thermostat and checked daily to
ensure the thermostat and globes are functioning correctly.
8
Figure 3. Olive python’s three-level enclosure showing wide opening
glass panel doors at the front. The snake can be seen through the
glass doors coiled up at the front of its enclosure. Note the sand
substrate, water dish, ‘soaking’ dish, a custom-made wooden hide
box (right), a cardboard hide and enclosed infra-red and lighting
globes installed just below the top shelf. (Courtesy: G.Martinic)
Husbandry and healthcare of the Olive python (Liasis olivaceus)
46
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
Enclosure lighting
Adequate lighting in the artificial environment of an
enclosure, is critical to for most pythons as it is for
other reptiles. A UVB 25-Watt globe provides suitable
artificial UVB light and is connected to a timer to create
a day and night cycle with 10 hours of UVB light (7 am –
5 pm). Higher intensity UVB globes should not be used
in Olive python enclosures. Lights must be covered with
a wire mesh shield to prevent the pythons from coming
into contact with the globe or breaking them. In the
unlikely occurrence of a bulb spontaneously bursting
the wire shield will minimise the risk of broken glass
being distributed into the enclosure. Olive pythons also
benefit from short periods of unfiltered, natural light and
are taken outside 1 – 2 times a fortnight for supervised
sunning.
Room lighting
Room lighting within the separate reptile holding rooms
is maintained on an artificial photoperiod set at 12:12
hrs light/dark, provided by individual electronic light
timer switches (with manual override features) to each
room (Figure 4).
10
periods of unfiltered, natural light and are taken outside 1 2 times a
fortnight for supervised sunning.
Room Lighting
Room lighting within the separate reptile holding rooms is maintained
on an artificial photoperiod set at 12:12 hrs light/dark, provided by
individual electronic light timer switches (with manual override
features) to each room (Figure 4).
Figure 4. Electronic Light Timer Switch as used in each reptile
holding room to regulate room lighting
Figure 4. Electronic Light Timer Switch as used in each
reptile holding room to regulate room lighting.
Handling
As they mature in captivity, they can become quite
docile snakes especially when handled appropriately.
The female Olive python (Figure 5) that we have at the
R
eptile House, which we have affectionately named
‘Scarf’ has been cared for by us for over 15 years. Scarf,
at one point reached a bodyweight of 25kg, so action was
taken to reduce her bodyweight to a more reasonable
weight for her species. At the time of writing
this article,
Scarf weighed approximately 16kg and had a body
length of 3.5m. Handlers must be aware that bites can
occur during feeding and handle pythons accordingly to
minimise risk. However, there has been no recorded
instance of Scarf biting any of our Animal Technologists
during the last 15 years. Olive pythons can be difficult to
remove while biting and once the snake has bitten, the
sustained injury is not likely to worsen while the animal
is attached but improper or hasty attempts to remove
the snake may cause a larger laceration. Running cold
water over their body or into the mouth can result in the
python releasing its hold. Alcohol from an Alcohol wipe
is also highly effective. Serious injury is unlikely but
bites from larger specimens can be very painful.
Some pythons, such as the much smaller Children’s
pythons, which we also maintain, can often strike out
as soon as the enclosure door is opened, especially
in the days immediately preceding scheduled feeding
days when the snake is hungry. It is good practice to
remove the snake from its normal enclosure before you
feed them, this way they do not associate the enclosure
13
Figure 5. Photograph of ‘Scarf’ our Olive python shown on the
grassed area outside of the K1 Animal Facility, sunning itself
alongside the author. We try and provide regular periods of ‘sunning’
for each of our pythons on a weekly basis. The photo also gives a
reasonable indication of the size and length that these species can
grow to when compared to an average-sized human (Courtesy:
G.Martinic)
Figure 5. Photograph of ‘Scarf’ our Olive python shown
on the grassed area outside of the K1 Animal Facility,
sunning itself alongside the author. We try and provide
regular periods of ‘sunning’ for each of our pythons
on a weekly basis. The photo also gives a reasonable
indication of the size and length that these species can
grow to when compared to an average-sized human.
(Courtesy: G. Martinic)
Husbandry and healthcare of the Olive python (Liasis olivaceus)
47
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareHusbandry and healthcare of the Olive python (Liasis olivaceus)
opening with feeding. When opening the enclosure to
handle or remove a python, the handler should first
gently tap the snakes head with a thick gardening style
glove. The glove cannot be mistaken for food and the
snakes that we have in captivity have been conditioned
such that this tap indicates handling rather than feeding.
During periods of ‘sunning’ when the python is outside
the enclosure (Figure 6), if it begins to coil around an
arm or hand, the handler should keep the snake moving
and support the python’s whole bodyweight; otherwise
the python may adopt feeding behaviours and bite once
the arm or hand is restricted. It is not recommended to
handle pythons if they have been fed in the previous 24
hours. It is also not recommended to handle pythons if
they are ‘blue’ and about to commence shedding. (See
Skin Shedding section for a description of ‘blue).
Packing and transport
On a few occasions throughout each year, our reptiles are
used in static and live handling displays by our academic
and technical staff in events such as University Open
days, for teaching purposes and for public engagement
events. When this occurs the reptiles need to be safely
packed and transported between locations. Smaller
lizards are normally placed into and transported in
breathable cotton bags (one animal per bag) which are
placed inside rigid plastic containers. For pythons that
are too large for a cotton bag, they need to be carefully
14
Figure 6. The distinct almost glassy ‘bluish’ hue can be seen on this
Olive python in the bright sunlight, making the skin look smoother
than other species. The Olive python has a very high mid-body scale
count of 61-72 scales. (Courtesy: G.Martinic)
Packing and Transport
On a few occasions throughout each year, our reptiles are used in
static and live handling displays by our academic and technical staff
in events such as University Open days, for teaching purposes and
for public engagement events. When this occurs the reptiles need to
Figure 6. The distinct almost glassy ‘bluish’ hue can be seen on this Olive python in the bright sunlight, making the skin look
smoother than other species. The Olive python has a very high mid-body scale count of 61-72 scales. (Courtesy: G. Martinic)
Figure 7. A large, mobile purpose-designed and built
crate with a secure lid and ventilation screen used for
transporting our large Olive python.
16
Figure 7. A large, mobile purpose-designed and built crate with a
secure lid and ventilation screen used for transporting our large Olive
python.
Hygiene
Infection control is one of the basic principles of good animal care.
Staff should wash their hands and change gloves between
enclosures. They should use a quality disinfectant-cleaner like F10sc
(a broad-spectrum veterinary disinfect containing a combination of
benzalkonium chloride and polyhexamethyline biguanide) to clean
cages and furniture regularly. This will reduce the risk of bacterial
transported in a large, mobile purpose-designed crates
(Figure 7) that have a secure lid and a ventilation
screen. They are always transported in air-conditioned
vehicles by staff who have been appropriately trained to
perform this task.
48
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
Hygiene
Infection control is one of the basic principles of
good animal care. Staff should wash their hands and
change gloves between enclosures. They should use
a quality disinfectant-cleaner like F10sc (a broad-
spectrum veterinary disinfect containing a combination
of benzalkonium chloride and polyhexamethyline
biguanide) to clean cages and furniture regularly. This
will reduce the risk of bacterial build up and the risk
of Salmonella in particular. Staff should remove shed
skins, uneaten foods and droppings daily and change
water every two days. Food and water dishes should be
washed thoroughly and enclosure substrates changed
weekly. Staff should wash their hands thoroughly before
and after handling reptiles.
Skin shedding
Olive pythons have a very high mid-body scale count
often making their skin look smoother than other python
species (Figure 5) and sometimes providing a somewhat
‘glassy’ looking appearance when being sunned. It should
be remembered that healthy Olive pythons will shed
regularly, particularly when they are growing. Pythons,
especially the larger ones, should not be handled during
the shed as they can be defensive during this time.
For this reason, the python’s shedding is recorded and
enclosures of snakes about to shed are labelled ‘blue’.
Snakes are identified as ‘blue’ when the brille (the scale
covering the eye) becomes a milky blue and/or their
scales generally become dull indicating they are about
to shed. After three to four days, the eyes become clear
again and the snake begins seeking out rough surfaces
in its enclosure such as branches and rocks (which
should be relatively smooth – not pumice) and should be
readily accessible, this may include course or naturally
rock-shaped hides. The shedding will progress from nose
to tail and takes between 7 to 14 days.
Olive pythons should not be handled if they are showing
signs of an impending shed or are actively shedding.
Snakes will generally not eat during a shed. Force-
feeding during this time is not necessary and in fact can
be harmful. Once complete, the shed skin should be
removed and the snake checked for a complete shed,
including the brille (eye scales).
Incomplete sheds
There are many reasons for the shedding process to
be incomplete or improper, referred to as dysecdysis.
The most common causes are related to poor
husbandry and/or nutrition. Dysecdysis is a symptom
of another problem and not a primary problem in itself.
Persistent or incomplete sheds should be inspected
by an experienced reptile veterinarian or experienced
herpetologist. This will help to rule out medically
treatable causes such as mites or bacterial infections
of the skin. Other causes of dysecdysis include:
trauma, dermatitis, malnutrition, and over-handling. The
veterinarian will advise the appropriate treatments once
the underlying cause has been determined.
Husbandry Techniques used to assist with incomplete
sheds
Humidity is very important for reptiles with requirements
varying from species to species. Most snakes require
an environment of 50% to 70% humidity. Incomplete
sheds can often be managed by increasing humidity.
Spraying with luke-warm water (approx. 35-40
˚
C) from
head to tail on a daily basis may be beneficial. Butchers
paper can also be soaked to increase the humidity of a
specific enclosure. Snakes which retain their shedding
for an extended period can be lightly sprayed with ‘Shed-
Ezi’ spray or similar product on the residual scale which
can then be gently rubbed off.
Sometimes the snake may be placed in a large container
with warm water (up to 43
˚
C) deeper than the girth of
the snake to allow submersion but shallow enough such
that it can easily keep its head above water while resting
on the bottom of the container. Never leave a soaking
snake unattended. After 10 – 15 minutes soaking in
the tub the residual shed should be easily removed with
gentle rubbing. Retained eye caps (or spectacles/brille)
can be very dangerous for snakes. They can harbour
pathogenic (potentially disease-causing) bacteria as
well as making it difficult for the snake to see. Removing
them is not difficult but can permanently damage the
cornea of the snake if not done correctly. Staff must
first be trained in this procedure before attempting
to remove retained eye-caps, or otherwise organise
a consultation with an experienced herpetologist or
reptile veterinarian to remedy the condition.
Feeding
In the wild, the Olive python’s diet consists of birds,
mammals and other reptiles but in captivity they can be
fed exclusively on large rodents (mainly rats). As they
grow, they are fed progressively larger feeds starting
with adult mice, then progressing eventually to large
300-400g adult rats. The adult Olive python in the K1
Reptile House is fed primarily adult rats, although on
occasion they may be fed adult Guinea pigs or even
rabbits, when available. Adults are generally fed 5%
of their bodyweight weekly (or 10% fortnightly) unless
‘blue’.
The food (rats) is always frozen for at least 48 hours
before use and thawed freshly in a tub of hot water for
over an hour, then dried (Figure 8) Ensure the prey is
fully thawed and dry before feeding. Dry the prey with
paper towel and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before
offering it to ensure the food is not too hot. The prey
Husbandry and healthcare of the Olive python (Liasis olivaceus)
49
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareHusbandry and healthcare of the Olive python (Liasis olivaceus)
should be presented to the snake using forceps, tongs
or a gloved hand. They will generally strike at it very
quickly and coil around it. If the snake does not strike,
the food item can be left in the enclosure while the other
snakes are feeding. If the snake does not constrict or
consume the food within 30 minutes the food should be
removed and disposed of. Feeds and refusals should
be recorded on a room activity log sheet for that animal
room.
Healthcare
Even with proper care Olive pythons may become sick.
It is important to seek specialist reptile veterinary care
before an illness progresses too far. Observation is
the best way to recognise ill health, watch for changes
in behaviour, weight loss, loss of appetite, changes
in colour, changes in faeces, changes in muscle tone
or coordination, incomplete or absence of ecdysis
(shedding) and persistent aggression. A range of
conditions and illnesses that can afflict Olive pythons,
have been presented below for the benefit of the Animal
Technologists and Zookeepers:
Infections
Salmonellosis – Salmonella bacteria are readily found
in the environment and can cause disease when
present in large volumes in food. It is often associated
with poultry. Although most pythons asymptomatically
carry and shed some serotypes of salmonella, large gut
loads of serotypes that they do not usually harbour, can
cause disease which is often fatal. Salmonella causes
gastrointestinal infections. Signs of gastrointestinal
infection are weight loss, lack of appetite, and foul
smelling diarrhoea, and vomiting. This type of illness
must be treated by a veterinarian.
Stomatitis – Commonly referred to as mouth rot or
canker, usually results from poor husbandry and
sanitation practices. It may appear when a snake’s
immune system has been weakened by a concurrent
disease (e.g., pneumonia), low temperatures, or
excessive humidity. Symptoms of stomatitis include
accumulation of cheesy material along the gums and
around the tongue sheath, blood spots and bruising in
the gums, an inability to shed skin, dribbling saliva, in
severe cases swelling of the gums and subcutaneous
tissue along the jaw may be seen, possibly spreading to
much of the head and neck. Specialist veterinary advice
should be sought if stomatitis is suspected.
Necrotising Dermatitis – Often referred to as Scale
Rot and Blister Disease, often results from unhygienic
conditions and excessive dampness, most commonly
affecting reptiles that come from dry, arid regions of
Australia. Occasionally, a deficiency of vitamins A and
C can be a contributing factor. Symptoms of scale rot
include: yellow, red or greenish-black discolouration of
21
of. Feeds and refusals should be recorded on a room activity log
sheet for that animal room.
Figure 8. Preparation of food for the snakes - photograph showing
four adult rats (top) and three adult mice (bottom; used for smaller
pythons) drying in a tub after having been soaked in warm water (in
the tub at left) then being thoroughly damped dry with paper towel
and left to air dry for up to 10 mins before feeding. The long stainless
steel forceps (used to present the food to the snake) can be seen
sitting over the tubs (Courtesy: G.Martinic)
Figure 8. Preparation of food for the snakes – photograph showing four adult rats (top) and three adult mice (bottom;
used for smaller pythons) drying in a tub after having been soaked in warm water (in the tub at left) then being thoroughly
damped dry with paper towel and left to air dry for up to 10 mins before feeding. The long stainless steel forceps (used
to present the food to the snake) can be seen sitting over the tubs. (Courtesy: G. Martinic)
50
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
the scales, particularly along the underside, softening
or swelling of the skin surface caused by serum
seeping through, sloughing of affected skin exposing
subcutaneous tissue, fluid-filled blisters in the scales,
again primarily on the ventral surfaces, and bruising
due to blood in the tissue beneath the scales in
advanced cases. Seek veterinary advice if dermatitis
is suspected.
Respiratory infections
Pneumonia – respiratory disease or pneumonia is
quite common when conditions are too cold or damp
for reptiles. While the condition is normally the result
of bacterial infection, lungworms, fungal disease and
tumours can also cause similar signs. Diagnosis
may require a lung wash or radiology. Symptoms of
pneumonia include: open-mouthed breathing, resting
of the head in elevated positions, tongue tips stick
together or snake is unable to flick its tongue, gurgling
sound while breathing, accumulation of frothy mucus
at the back of the throat. Specialist veterinary advice
should be sought if pneumonia is suspected.
Fungal infections can be exacerbated by a warm and
damp environment. These infections can occur in a
cut or scrape and should be treated with an antifungal
ointment under the direction of a veterinarian.
Parasite infestations
Helminthic (internal parasite) Infestations – Olive pythons
can become infected with internal parasites, notably
nematodes (roundworms) and cestodes (tapeworms).
These infections can be treated with Panacur
(fenbendazole) for the nematodes and Drontal
(Praziquantel, Pyrantel Embonate and Febantel). dog
worming tablets for the tapeworms. These medications
can be inserted into food and fed to the adults. This
should only be done under veterinary or experienced
herpetologist instruction.
Ectoparasitic (external parasite) Infestations – Olive
pythons can become infested with mites although this
is unlikely in the reptile house unless new animals
are introduced. However, mites could be inadvertently
brought in by a student or staff member if proper hygiene
controls are not followed. Symptoms of ectoparasite
infestation include: lying in the water bowl, excessive
rubbing against terrarium furnishings, skin shedding
which is slow, uneven or does not occur, the presence
of very small red-brown insects on the skin. In the case
of mites, when a white pillowcase is placed in terrarium
overnight, mites will be visible moving slowly on the
bottom the following morning. Mites are extremely
difficult to eliminate and require a two-stage response,
which is to treat the animal, as well as the habitat,
under veterinary direction.
Acknowledgements
I gratefully acknowledge the dedication and skilful
assistance of our Animal Technologists from the
Animal Facilities team. Technical Support Services
including Nikola Mills, Lauren Hughes, Alex Hosking,
Kieran Burns, Vamsi Inampudi, Amy Woodley, Sophie
Ball and Lauren Grote. I thank Gavin McKenzie, Cluster
Manager – Institutes, at the University, for reviewing the
manuscript and for supporting our work.
References
1
Laszlo, J. (1975) Probing as a practical method
of sex recognition in snakes. International Zoo
Yearbook 15:178-179.
Also See: ‘How to Probe Sex Snakes’ on YouTube by
Ultimate Exotics:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKlW6DXiElw
Bibliography
Ehmann, H. (1992). Encyclopedia of Australian Animals.
Reptiles. Australian Museum, Angus & Roberston,
Sydney.
Greer, A.E. (1989). The Biology and Evolution of Australian
Lizards. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Sydney.
NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change,
(2008). ‘Hygiene protocol for the control of disease
in captive snakes’, NSW Department of Environment
and Climate Change, Sydney.
OEH (2013). Code of Practice for the Private Keeping
of Reptiles, State of NSW and Office of Environment
and Heritage, Sydney, ISBN: 978 1 74293 323 8.
Weigel, J. (1988). Care of Australian Reptiles in Captivity,
Reptile Keepers’ Association, Gosford.
Husbandry and healthcare of the Olive python (Liasis olivaceus)
51
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareApril 2021 Animal Technology and Welfare
PAPER SUMMARY
TRANSLATIONS
CONTENU DE LA REVUE
Manipulation de souris à l’aide de gants pulvérisés avec
un désinfectant pour les mains à base d’alcool: effets
aigus sur le comportement de la souris
NOELIA LOPEZ-SALESANSKY, DOMINIC J WELLS, NATALIE CHANCELLOR, LUCY WHITFIELD,
CHARLOTTE C BURN
Correspondence: cburn@rvc.ac.uk
Résumé
Les alcools sont couramment utilisés dans les installations de laboratoire pour désinfecter les mains, l’équipement et les
environnements de laboratoire. L’effet sur les souris est inconnu. Nous avons donc observé des souris mâles et femelles
C57BL/6J et BALB/c pendant et après leur manipulation avec des gants en nitrile qui ont été vaporisés avec un désinfectant
à 70 % d’alcool (environ 67 % d’éthanol, ~3 % de méthanol et 30 % d’eau), ou qui n’ont pas été pulvérisés. Nous avons émis
l’hypothèse que, si les souris considéraient ce désinfectant pour les mains comme un désinfectant aversif, son application sur
les gants avant de les manipuler augmenterait les indicateurs comportementaux de peur ou de défense ; cela pourrait également
affecter les interactions sociales et le toilettage dans les deux sens. Les souris manipulées avec des gants aseptisés étaient
plus nombreuses à se relever le long de la paroi de la cage et à adopter un comportement d’auto-toilettage, de toilettage social,
de reniflage des autres souris de la même cage et de consommation de nourriture/d’eau parmi une ou les deux souches de
souris. Chez les mâles, la manipulation avec des gants aseptisés réduisait également l’agression initiale dans la cage, qui était
remplacée par le toilettage, mais le fait de savoir si l’agression avait vraiment diminuée ou était simplement retardée n’a pas été
établi. Aucun effet statistiquement significatif du traitement sur les comportements d’évitement n’a été démontré lors d’un test
d’interaction avec la main. L’enfouissement défensif se produisait avec les gants aseptisés et les gants de contrôle au cours du
premier test d’interaction avec la main et a considérablement diminué au cours des 4 semaines de l’étude, ce qui suggère un effet
de nouveauté. Les résultats indiquent que la manipulation de souris avec un désinfectant pour les mains à base d’alcool affecte
leur comportement , notamment en ce qui concerne les interactions sociales, bien que la réplication soit nécessaire car il n’a pas
été possible que l’observateur ait connaissance du traitement. D’autres recherches sont nécessaires pour évaluer les effets à
long terme de l’utilisation de désinfectant pour les mains à base d’alcool et de désinfectants de rechange lors de la manipulation
de souris de laboratoire afin de formuler des recommandations de raffinement.
Mots-clés. Comportement des animaux; bien-être animal; désinfectant; manipulation; hygiène; souris
52
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
Rapport de la réunion de 2020 du Groupe de protection
des rongeurs de la RSPCA/UFAW
CHLOE STEVEMS, PENNY HAWKINS, TOM V SMULDERS, AILEEN MACLELAN, LARS
LEWEJOHANN, PAULIN JIRKOF, JACKIE BOXALL, HELEN MURPHY, CARLEY MOODY,
PATRICIA V TURNER, I J MAKOWSKA, CHARLOTTE INMAN
Résumé
Le Groupe de protection des rongeurs et des lapins de la RSPCA/UFAW tient chaque automne depuis 27 ans une réunion d’une
journée afin de permettre à ses membres de discuter de la recherche actuelle sur le bien-être, d’échanger des points de vue sur
les questions de bien-être et de partager des expériences de la mise en œuvre des 3R de remplacement, réduction et raffinement
en ce qui concerne l’utilisation de rongeurs. L’un des principaux objectifs du groupe est d’encourager la réflexion concernant
l’expérience de vie entière des rongeurs de laboratoire, en veillant à ce que chaque impact négatif potentiel sur leur bien-être soit
examiné et minimisé.
Cette année, la réunion s’est déroulée en ligne pour la première fois et a réuni plus de 400 délégués de près de 40 pays. Elle
avait pour thème les « expériences cumulées », avec des sessions sur « la science de la gravité cumulative » et « les raffinements
pratiques permettant de réduire la gravité et de promouvoir le bien-être ». Les présentations comprenaient un discours d’introduction
qui expliquait la raison pour laquelle les expériences cumulatives sont importantes et la manière dont les expériences positives
et négatives qui s’accumulent au cours de la vie d’un animal sont susceptibles d’avoir des répercussions à long terme sur son
bien-être. D’autres discussions ont porté sur les différentes façons de reconnaître et d’évaluer la gravité cumulative, les effets
cumulatifs des petits raffinements et le concept de « belle vie » ainsi que sa signification pour les rongeurs de laboratoire. L’unité
de réglementation des animaux utilisés à des fins scientifiques (ASRU) du Home Office a également fourni une mise à jour
concernant la façon dont les expériences cumulatives influencent la gravité vécue par les animaux utilisés à des fins scientifiques.
La journée s’est terminée par une séance de discussion interactive sur les moyens d’identifier les souffrances cumulées chez les
rongeurs encagés. Ce rapport résume la réunion et se termine par une liste de points d’action que les lecteurs peuvent envisager
de soulever au sein de leurs propres établissements.
Mots clés. Les 3R, rongeurs, lapins, expérience cumulative, sévérité, raffinement
★ ★ ★
Défis émotionnels dans le cadre du travail réalisé avec les
animaux de laboratoire: outils permettant de prendre soin
des autres et de vous-même
ANGELA KERTON ET JORDI L TREMOLEDA
Correspondence: angela@learningcurvedevelopment.co.uk
Résumé
Il arrivera inévitablement à la plupart des personnes qui travaillent avec des animaux de laboratoire de former parfois des liens
avec les animaux dont elles s’occupent. Ces relations renforceront positivement les soins et le bien-être animal, mais elles
posent également des défis émotionnels importants qui ont été clairement exposés par certaines règles de gestion associées à
la pandémie de COVID-19. Il est essentiel que le secteur reconnaisse l’existence de ces liens et fournisse des mécanismes de
soutien institutionnel visant à aider les techniciens animaliers à faire face aux défis émotionnels inhérents à leur profession. La
logistique de travail actuellement associée à la pandémie de COVID-19 pose d’autres défis, dont notamment la délégation des
responsabilités, la séparation des équipes de travail et la gestion des stocks en cas d’urgence, pour n’en nommer que quelques-
uns, ainsi que les défis individuels en matière de santé et de relations sociales, économiques et personnelles. Cet article
fournit des outils et des idées visant à favoriser un environnement de travail plus ouvert, communicatif et fournissant un soutien
émotionnel. L’importance de « l’auto-soin » est également discutée. Il existe un engagement croissant en faveur d’une culture de
soins et de soutien pour soutenir nos collègues en les sensibilisant à nos défis émotionnels.
Mots clés. Animaux, défi émotionnel, COVID-19, techniciens animaliers, outils de soutien.
Paper Summary Translations
53
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and WelfarePaper Summary Translations
L’élevage et la santé du python Olive (Liasis olivaceus)
GARY MARTINIC
Correspondence: G.Martinic@westernsydney.edu.au
Résumé
L’article décrit la manière de s’occuper du python olive (Liasis olivaceus) il comprend des informations concernant le logement,
l’alimentation, la manipulation, ainsi que les soins de santé généraux à prodiguer à ces animaux. Certaines des informations
présentées proviennent des procédures opérationnelles normalisées qui ont été co-rédigées par les auteurs. Il est à espérer que
les informations présentées puissent aider les techniciens animaliers et de zoos novices en charge de s’occuper de ces espèces
dans un centre de recherche sur les animaux ou au sein d’un environnement zoologique.
54
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
INHALTVERZEICHNIS
Akute Verhaltensauswirkungen auf Mäuse
durch Handhabung mit Handschuhen, die mit
Handdesinfektionsmittel auf Alkoholbasis besprüht
wurden
NOELIA LOPEZ-SALESANSKY, DOMINIC J WELLS, NATALIE CHANCELLOR, LUCY WHITFIELD,
CHARLOTTE C BURN
Korrespondenz: cburn@rvc.ac.uk
Abstract
Alkohole finden in Versuchstiereinrichtungen zur Desinfektion von Händen, Geräten und Laborumgebungen breite Anwendung. Da
die Auswirkung auf Mäuse bisher nicht bekannt war, haben wir männliche und weibliche C57BL/6J- und BALB/c-Mäuse während
und nach ihrer Handhabung mit Nitrilhandschuhen beobachtet, die mit 70%igem Alkohol-Desinfektionsmittel (~ 67 % Ethanol, ~ 3
% Methanol und 30 % Wasser) besprüht bzw. nicht besprüht worden waren. Wir gingen von der Annahme aus, dass, wenn Mäuse
dieses Handdesinfektionsmittel als aversiv empfinden, vor der Handhabung damit behandelte Handschuhe Verhaltensindikatoren
für Angst oder Abwehr verstärken würden und auch soziale Interaktionen und Grooming in beiden Richtungen beeinflussen könnten.
Die Handhabung von Mäusen mit desinfizierten Handschuhen führte bei einem bzw. beiden Mäusestämmen zu vermehrtem
Aufrichten an der Käfigwand, Grooming, Allogrooming, Beschnüffeln von Käfignachbarn sowie Fressen/Trinken. Bei den männlichen
Tieren verringerte sich anfänglich auch die Aggression im Heimkäfig, an deren Stelle Grooming trat, wobei jedoch unklar ist, ob
aggressives Verhalten tatsächlich abnahm oder nur verzögert wurde. Es gab keine statistisch signifikanten Auswirkungen der
Behandlung auf in einem Hand-Interaktionstest gezeigtes Vermeidungsverhalten. Defensives Graben trat sowohl mit desinfizierten
als auch mit Kontrollhandschuhen während des Ersthand-Interaktionstests auf und nahm im Laufe der 4-wöchigen Studie signifikant
ab, was einen Neuheitseffekt nahelegt. Die Ergebnisse deuten darauf hin, dass die Handhabung von Mäusen mit alkoholbasiertem
Handdesinfektionsmittel das Verhalten der Tiere, einschließlich sozialer Interaktionen, beeinflusst, wenngleich eine Replikation
erforderlich ist, da wir den Beobachter der Behandlung nicht verblinden konnten. Weitere Untersuchungen sind erforderlich, um die
langfristigen Auswirkungen der Verwendung von alkoholbasierten Handdesinfektionsmitteln und alternativen Desinfektionsmitteln
beim Umgang mit Labormäusen bewerten und entsprechende Empfehlungen für eine Verbesserung aussprechen zu können.
Schlagwörter: Tierverhalten, Tierschutz, Desinfektionsmittel, Handhabung, Hygiene, Mäuse
Paper Summary Translations
55
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and WelfarePaper Summary Translations
Bericht über die Tagung der RSPCA/UFAW-
Tierschutzgruppe für Nager 2020
CHLOE STEVEMS, PENNY HAWKINS, TOM V SMULDERS, AILEEN MACLELAN, LARS
LEWEJOHANN, PAULIN JIRKOF, JACKIE BOXALL, HELEN MURPHY, CARLEY MOODY, PATRICIA
V TURNER, I J MAKOWSKA, CHARLOTTE INMAN
Abstract
Die RSPCA/UFAW-Tierschutzgruppe für Nager und Kaninchen veranstaltet seit 27 Jahren jeden Herbst ein eintägiges Treffen, bei
dem die Mitglieder über Themen aktueller Tierschutz-Forschung diskutieren und Erfahrungen und Meinungen über Tierschutzfragen
sowie über die Umsetzung des 3R-Prinzips (Vermeidung, Reduktion und Verbesserung) beim Einsatz von Nagern austauschen können.
Ein Hauptziel der Gruppe ist es, zum Nachdenken über die Gesamtheit der Lebenserfahrungen von Nagern als Laborversuchstiere
anzuregen und sicherzustellen, dass jede potenzielle Beeinträchtigung ihres Wohlergehens geprüft und auf ein Minimum reduziert wird.
Am diesjährigen Treffen, das zum ersten Mal online stattfand, nahmen über 400 Delegierte aus fast 40 Ländern teil. Es stand
unter dem Motto „kumulative Erfahrungen“, zu dem Sitzungen über „die Wissenschaft kumulativer Belastung“ und „praktische
Verbesserungen zur Verringerung der Belastung und Förderung des Wohlbefindens“ veranstaltet wurden. Die Präsentationen
umfassten einen Einführungsvortrag, in dem erläutert wurde, warum kumulative Erfahrungen wichtig sind und wie sich sowohl
positive als auch negative Erfahrungen im Laufe des Lebens eines Tieres akkumulieren und langfristig auf sein Wohlbefinden
auswirken können. Weitere Beiträge befassten sich mit verschiedenen Möglichkeiten zur Erkennung und Bewertung von kumulativen
Belastungen, kumulativen Auswirkungen kleiner Verbesserungen sowie mit dem Konzept eines „guten Lebens“ und was dies für
Labornager bedeutet. Zudem gab es ein Update der Home Office Animals in Science Regulation Unit (ASRU, Regulierungsstelle des
britischen Innenministeriums für in der Wissenschaft verwendete Versuchstiere), das untersuchte, wie kumulative Erfahrungen die
von Versuchstieren erlebten Belastungen beeinflussen. Der Tag endete mit einer interaktiven Diskussionsrunde über Möglichkeiten
der Erkennung kumulativen Leidens bei Nagetieren in Käfigen. Dieser Bericht fasst die Tagung zusammen und endet mit einer Liste
von Aktionspunkten, die Leser für ihre eigenen Einrichtungen in Betracht ziehen können.
Schlagwörter: 3R-Prinzip, Nager, Kaninchen, kumulative Erfahrung, Belastung, Verbesserung
★ ★ ★
Emotionale Herausforderungen bei der Arbeit mit
Labortieren: Instrumente zur Unterstützung von Fürsorge
und Selbstfürsorge
ANGELA KERTON UND JORDI L TREMOLEDA
Korrespondenz: angela@learningcurvedevelopment.co.uk
Abstract
Unweigerlich gehen die meisten von uns, die mit Labortieren arbeiten, zuweilen Bindungen mit den Tieren ein, für die wir sorgen.
Diese Beziehungen beeinflussen die Pflege und das Wohlbefinden der Tiere positiv, stellen aber auch eine große emotionale
Herausforderung dar, wie sich bei einigen Maßnahmen des Kontingenzmanagements im Zusammenhang mit der COVID-
19-Pandemie deutlich gezeigt hat. Es ist wichtig, dass die Branche das Bestehen dieser Bindungen zur Kenntnis nimmt und
institutionelle Unterstützungsmechanismen bereitstellt, um Tiertechnikern zu helfen, mit den emotionalen Herausforderungen
ihres Berufs umzugehen. Die derzeitige mit COVID-19 verbundene Arbeitslogistik bringt weitere Schwierigkeiten mit sich, wie z.
B. die Delegierung von Aufgaben, die Trennung von Arbeitsteams und das Kontingenzmanagement von Tierbeständen, um nur
einige zu nennen. Hinzu kommen die individuellen Herausforderungen in gesundheitlicher, sozialer und wirtschaftlicher Hinsicht
ebenso wie das mit den persönlichen Bindungen verbundene Dilemma. Dieser Artikel bietet einige Instrumente und Ideen zur
Unterstützung eines offeneren, kommunikativeren und emotional unterstützenden Arbeitsumfelds. Ebenso wird die Bedeutung
der „Selbstfürsorge“ erörtert. Es gibt zunehmend Bestrebungen hin zu einer Kultur der Fürsorge, und die Unterstützung unserer
Kollegen durch eine Sensibilisierung für unsere emotionalen Herausforderungen kann dieser förderlich sein.
Schlagwörter: Tiere, emotionale Herausforderung, COVID-19, Tiertechniker, unterstützende Instrumente
56
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
Haltung und Gesundheitspflege von Olivpythons (Liasis
olivaceus)
GARY MARTINIC
Korrespondenz: G.Martinic@westernsydney.edu.au
Abstract
Der Artikel behandelt die Pflege von Olivpythons (Liasis olivaceus). Er beinhaltet Informationen zur Unterbringung, Fütterung,
Handhabung sowie zur allgemeinen Gesundheitspflege dieser Tiere. Einige der vorgestellten Informationen sind von
Standardarbeitsanweisungen abgeleitet, die vom Autor verfasst wurden. Diese Informationen sollen angehenden Tiertechnikern
und Zooarbeitern Unterstützung bieten, die für die Pflege dieser Art in einer Tierforschungseinrichtung oder einer zoologischen
Umgebung verantwortlich sind.
Paper Summary Translations
57
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and WelfarePaper Summary Translations
INDICE DELLA REVISTA
Manipolazione dei topi con l’uso di guanti spruzzati con
igienizzante per le mani a base di alcol: effetti acuti sul
comportamento del topo
NOELIA LOPEZ-SALESANSKY, DOMINIC J WELLS, NATALIE CHANCELLOR, LUCY WHITFIELD,
CHARLOTTE C BURN
Corrispondenza: cburn@rvc.ac.uk
Abstract
L’alcol è comunemente utilizzato nei laboratori animali per la disinfezione di mani, apparecchiature e ambiente in genere. L’effetto
sui topi non è noto, per cui abbiamo osservato topi C57BL/6J e BALB/c di sesso maschile e femminile durante e dopo la loro
manipolazione con guanti in nitrile spruzzati con un igienizzante contenente 70% di alcol (~67% etanolo, ~3% metanolo e 30%
acqua) oppure non ricoperti di igienizzante. Abbiamo ipotizzato che, se i topi percepivano questo igienizzante per le mani come
avverso, la sua applicazione sui guanti prima della manipolazione avrebbe esacerbato gli indicatori comportamentali di paura o
difesa; inoltre, avrebbe potuto incidere sulle interazioni sociali e sulla toelettatura in entrambe le direzioni. La manipolazione dei
topi con guanti disinfettati ha accresciuto i casi di posizionamento eretto contro la parete della gabbia, l’auto-toelettatura, il social
grooming, gli annusamenti di altri animali presenti nella gabbia e il consumo di cibo/liquidi in uno o entrambi i ceppi di topi. Nei
maschi, ha ridotto anche l’aggressione iniziale nella gabbia di stabulazione, sostituendola con la toelettatura, ma non è chiaro se
l’aggressione sia effettivamente diminuita o fosse semplicemente tardiva. Non si sono notati effetti statisticamente significativi
del trattamento sui comportamenti di annullamento mostrati durante un test di interazione manuale. Un comportamento di
seppellimento difensivo si è verificato con guanti disinfettati e di controllo durante il primo test di interazione manuale ed è
diminuito notevolmente nel corso delle 4 settimane dello studio, suggerendo un possibile effetto di novità. Le conclusioni indicano
che la manipolazione di topi con igienizzante per le mani a base di alcol incide sul loro comportamento, comprese le interazioni
sociali, anche se è necessario eseguire ulteriori repliche, dal momento che non abbiamo potuto rendere ‘ciechi’ gli osservatori
al trattamento. Sono necessarie ulteriori ricerche per valutare gli effetti a lungo termine legati all’uso di igienizzanti per le mani
a base di alcol e disinfettanti alternativi durante la manipolazione di topi da laboratorio prima di poter offrire raccomandazioni di
perfezionamento.
Parole chiave: comportamento animale; benessere animale; disinfettante; manipolazione; igiene; topi
58
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
Resoconto dell’incontro del RSPCA/UFAW rodent and
rabbit welfare group del 2020
CHLOE STEVEMS, PENNY HAWKINS, TOM V SMULDERS, AILEEN MACLELAN, LARS
LEWEJOHANN, PAULIN JIRKOF, JACKIE BOXALL, HELEN MURPHY, CARLEY MOODY, PATRICIA
V TURNER, I J MAKOWSKA, CHARLOTTE INMAN
Abstract
Ogni autunno, da ormai 27 anni, il RSPCA/UFAW Rodent and Rabbit Welfare Group (Gruppo sul benessere dei roditori e dei
conigli) organizza un incontro di un giorno per consentire ai suoi membri di discutere degli studi attuali di ricerca sul benessere,
di scambiarsi opinioni sulle questioni legate al benessere e di condividere esperienze di applicazione del principio delle 3 R,
sostituzione (replacement), riduzione (reduction) e perfezionamento (refinement), in relazione all’uso di roditori. Uno degli obiettivi
primari del Gruppo è quello di invitare a prendere in considerazione l’intero percorso di vita dei roditori da laboratorio, accertandosi
che venga valutato e minimizzato ogni possibile impatto negativo sul loro benessere.
L’incontro di quest’anno si è tenuto online per la prima volta e ha visto la partecipazione di oltre 400 delegati di quasi 40
Paesi. È stato affrontato il tema delle ‘esperienze cumulative’, con sessioni dedicate alla ‘scienza della gravità cumulativa’ e
a ‘perfezionamenti pratici volti a ridurre la gravità e a promuovere il benessere’. Le presentazioni hanno incluso una relazione
introduttiva che ha spiegato l’importanza delle esperienze cumulative e il fatto che le esperienze positive e negative possono
accumularsi durante il percorso di vita di un animale e avere impatti a lungo termine sul benessere. Ulteriori discussioni hanno
esaminato i vari metodi per riconoscere e valutare la gravità cumulativa, gli impatti cumulativi di piccoli perfezionamenti e il
concetto di una ‘buona vita’ e di cosa significhi per i roditori da laboratorio. L’Animals in Science Regulation Unit (ASRU) del
Ministero dell’Interno britannico ha presentato, inoltre, un aggiornamento su come le esperienze cumulative influenzano la gravità
vissuta dagli animali in campo scientifico. La giornata si è conclusa con una sessione interattiva su come identificare la sofferenza
cumulativa nei roditori in gabbia. Il presente resoconto riassume l’incontro e termina con un elenco di punti di intervento che i
lettori possono portare all’attenzione delle loro strutture.
Parole chiave: 3 R, roditori, conigli, esperienza cumulativa, gravità, perfezionamento
★ ★ ★
Sfide emotive sul lavoro con gli animali da laboratorio:
strumenti che aiutano a prendersi cura di se stessi e degli
altri
ANGELA KERTON E JORDI L TREMOLEDA
Corrispondenza: angela@learningcurvedevelopment.co.uk
Abstract
Inevitabilmente, la maggior parte di noi a contatto con animali da laboratorio forma talvolta un legame con gli animali di cui si prende
cura. Queste relazioni avranno un impatto positivo sulla cura e sul benessere degli animali, ma comportano anche importanti
sfide emotive, come è emerso chiaramente da alcuni casi di gestione della contingenza associati alla pandemia da COVID-19. È
importante che l’industria riconosca l’esistenza di questi legami e fornisca meccanismi di supporto istituzionale per aiutare gli
stabularisti a far fronte alle sfide emotive emergenti dalla loro professione. Le attuali modalità operative dettate da COVID-19
presentano ulteriori sfide, come la delega delle responsabilità, la separazione dei team di lavoro e la gestione della contingenza
della popolazione animale, per citarne solo alcune, unitamente ai problemi sanitari e sociali, economici e interpersonali dei singoli
individui. Questo articolo condivide strumenti e idee a sostegno di un ambiente di lavoro più aperto, comunicativo e improntato
sul supporto emotivo. Pone l’accento anche sull’importanza della “cura di sé”. Si è sempre più dediti a promuovere una cultura di
cura e il sostegno nei confronti dei colleghi attraverso una maggiore consapevolezza delle nostre sfide emotive potrebbe aiutare
in tal senso.
Parole chiave: Animali, sfida emotiva, COVID-19, stabularisti, strumenti di supporto.
Paper Summary Translations
59
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and WelfarePaper Summary Translations
Allevamento e cura del pitone oliva (Liasis olivaceus)
GARY MARTINIC
Corrispondenza: G.Martinic@westernsydney.edu.au
Abstract
L’articolo descrive la cura del pitone oliva (Liasis olivaceus); include informazioni sulla stabulazione, l’alimentazione, la gestione e
la cura generale della salute di questi animali. Alcune delle informazioni presentate si basano sulle procedure operative standard
redatte dall’autore. Ci si augura che le informazioni fornite possano rivelarsi utili agli stabularisti e ai custodi di zoo alle prime armi
incaricati di occuparsi di questa specie in un centro di ricerca per animali o in un contesto zoologico.
60
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
INDICE DE LA REVISTA
Manipulación de roedores utilizando guantes a los que se
les ha aplicado previamente desinfectante para manos
basado en alcohol
NOELIA LOPEZ-SALESANSKY, DOMINIC J WELLS, NATALIE CHANCELLOR, LUCY WHITFIELD,
CHARLOTTE C BURN
Correspondencia: cburn@rvc.ac.uk
Resumen
El alcohol suele utilizarse en las instalaciones de animales de laboratorio para desinfectar manos, equipos y entornos del laboratorio.
Los efectos en los roedores se desconocen, por lo que observamos a los roedores C57BL/6J y BALB/c macho y hembra durante y
después de la manipulación con guantes de nitrilo a los que se les administró un desinfectante con 70 % de alcohol (~67 % etanol,
~3 % metanol y 30 % agua) o con guantes sin ningún tipo de desinfectante. Especulamos que, si los roedores percibían este
desinfectante de manos como algo desagradable, su aplicación en guantes antes de la manipulación aumentaría los indicadores
de comportamiento de miedo o defensa; asimismo podría afectar las interacciones sociales y el acicalamiento en cualquier
dirección. La manipulación de roedores con guantes desinfectados hacía que estos se pusieran de pie más de lo habitual en los
bordes de la jaula y aumentaba también el autoacicalamiento, el acicalamiento social entre ellos, el olfateo de otros miembros de
la jaula y la actividad de comer/beber en una o ambas cepas de roedores. En los machos, también redujo las agresiones iniciales
en jaulas, siendo reemplazadas por un acicalamiento, pero no está claro si las agresiones disminuyeron realmente o simplemente
se demoraron. No hubo efectos estadísticamente significativos del tratamiento respecto a comportamientos evasivos observados
en una prueba de interacción manual. Se observó una excavación defensiva tanto con guantes desinfectados como con guantes
de control durante la primera prueba de interacción manual y una disminución significativa durante el estudio de 4 semanas, lo
que sugiere un efecto novedoso. Las conclusiones indican que la manipulación de roedores con desinfectante para manos basado
en alcohol afecta al comportamiento de los ratones, lo que incluye las interacciones sociales, aunque es necesario realizar una
replicación ya que no pudimos cegar al observador del tratamiento. Es necesario realizar más estudios de investigación para
evaluar los efectos a largo plazo del uso de desinfectante para manos basado en alcohol y desinfectantes alternativos al manipular
roedores de laboratorio para poder realizar recomendaciones para su refinamiento.
Palabras clave: Comportamiento animal, bienestar animal, desinfectante, manipulación, higiene, roedores
Paper Summary Translations
61
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and WelfarePaper Summary Translations
Informe sobre la reunión del Grupo para el bienestar de
roedores RSPCA/UFAW 2020
CHLOE STEVEMS, PENNY HAWKINS, TOM V SMULDERS, AILEEN MACLELAN, LARS
LEWEJOHANN, PAULIN JIRKOF, JACKIE BOXALL, HELEN MURPHY, CARLEY MOODY,
PATRICIA V TURNER, I J MAKOWSKA, CHARLOTTE INMAN
Resumen
El Grupo para el bienestar de conejos y roedores RSPCA/UFAW ha celebrado una reunión de un día cada otoño durante los últimos
27 años para que sus miembros puedan debatir sobre la investigación actual sobre bienestar, intercambiar opiniones sobre
temas relacionados con el bienestar y compartir su experiencia respecto a la implementación de las 3 R (reemplazo, reducción y
refinamiento) en relación al uso de roedores. Uno de los objetivos primordiales del Grupo es fomentar que las personas piensen
sobre la experiencia vital de los roedores de laboratorio garantizando a su vez que cualquier impacto negativo posible en su
bienestar sea revisado y reducido.
La reunión de este año se celebró en línea por primera vez y asistieron más de 400 delegados de casi 40 países. El tema era
«experiencias acumulativas», con sesiones sobre «la ciencia de la gravedad acumulativa» y los «refinamientos prácticos para
reducir la gravedad y fomentar el bienestar». Las presentaciones incluyeron una charla de presentación en la que se explicaba
el motivo por el que las experiencias acumulativas son importantes y cómo tanto las experiencias positivas como las negativas
pueden ir acumulándose durante la vida de un animal y tener un impacto a largo plazo sobre su bienestar. Otras charlas trataron
distintas formas de reconocer y evaluar la gravedad acumulativa, los impactos acumulativos de pequeños refinamientos y el
concepto de una «buena vida» y lo que esto implica para los roedores de laboratorio. También se asistió a una actualización de
la Home Office Animals in Science Regulation Unit (ASRU) que se centró en cómo las experiencias acumulativas influyen en la
gravedad experimentada por los animales utilizados para fines científicos. El día se clausuró con un debate interactivo sobre las
distintas formas de identificar el sufrimiento acumulativo en roedores observándolos desde fuera de la jaula. Este informe resume
la reunión y finaliza con una lista de puntos de acción para que los lectores consideren presentar en sus propias instalaciones.
Palabras clave: Las 3 R, roedores, conejos, experiencia acumulativa, gravedad, refinamiento
★ ★ ★
Desafíos emocionales en nuestro trabajo con animales de
laboratorio: herramientas que apoyan el cuidado de los
demás y de uno mismo
ANGELA KERTONY JORDI L TREMOLEDA
Correspondencia: angela@learningcurvedevelopment.co.uk
Resumen
Inevitablemente, la mayoría de los que trabajamos con animales de laboratorio creamos a veces un vínculo con los animales a los
que cuidamos. Estas relaciones mejorarán positivamente el cuidado y el bienestar de los animales, pero también suponen unos
retos emocionales, tal y como se pudo observar con algunos tratamientos de contingencias en relación con la pandemia de la
COVID-19. Es importante que el sector admita la existencia de estos vínculos y ofrezca mecanismos de soporte institucional para
ayudar a los tecnólogos de animales a gestionar los retos emocionales de su profesión. La logística actual de trabajo relacionada
con la COVID-19 supone más retos como la delegación de responsabilidades, la separación de equipos de trabajo y el tratamiento
de contingencias de existencias de ejemplares, por nombrar algunos, junto con los retos individuales de relaciones personales,
económicos, sociales y sanitarios. Este artículo presenta algunas herramientas e ideas para respaldar un entorno de trabajo más
abierto, más comunicativo y con más apoyo emocional. También se trata la importancia del «autocuidado». Existe un compromiso
creciente para fomentar una cultura de cuidado y,apoyando a nuestros compañeros mediante la creación de concienciación sobre
nuestros retos emocionales puede ayudar a conseguir este objetivo.
Palabras clave: Animales, reto emocional, COVID-19, tecnólogos de animales, herramientas de apoyo.
62
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
Cría y atención sanitaria de la Liasis olivaceus
GARY MARTINIC
Correspondencia: G.Martinic@westernsydney.edu.au
Resumen
El artículo describe el cuidado de la Liasis olivaceus e incluye información sobre jaula, alimentación, manipulación, así como los
cuidados generales de salud de estos animales. Parte de la información presentada procede de los Procedimientos de Operación
Estándar que han sido escritos por el autor. Se espera que la información aquí expuesta pueda ayudar a tecnólogos de animales
y trabajadores de parques zoológicos nuevos que puede que tengan que ocuparse del cuidado de esta especie en instalaciones
de investigación con animales o en un zoológico.
Paper Summary Translations
63
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
Guiding principles to help deliver the
ethics learning outcomes of module 2
for personal licensees
M JENNINGS
1,2
and M BERDOY
1,3
(editors), A-M FARMER,
1,4
P HAWKINS,
2
E LILLEY,
1,2
A KERTON,
1,5
B LAW,
1,6
JORDI L TREMOLEDA,
1,7
C STANFORD,
1,8
L WHITFIELD
1,9
and K RYDER
10
1
LASA Education, Training and Ethics Section
2
Research Animals Department, RSPCA
3
Oxford University
4
Cambridge University
5
The Learning Curve (Development) Ltd
6
Leeds University
7
Queen Mary University of London
8
University College London
9
Agenda Veterinary Services
10
Home Office observer
Correspondence: info@lasa.co.uk
Reprinted at the request of the Laboratory Animal Science Association (LASA)
Introduction
Delivering – and assessing – the ethics learning outcomes
in personal licensee (PIL) training courses (EU functions
A and B
1
, Home Office PIL courses) is an important
component of licensee training, yet experience shows
that this is not easy. There is often limited time and
resource available for the course as a whole. As a
consequence, current licensee training may not be able
to deliver the intended long-term effects on attendees’
knowledge, understanding, attitudes and behaviours.
Therefore, it is clearly important to find ways of
maximising the impact of what can be delivered in the
time available. Trainers, particularly those delivering
module 2 ‘Ethics, Animal Welfare and the Three Rs’,
have reported that they would welcome guidance on
how to achieve the ethics learning outcomes. Access to
up-to-date training resources would also be helpful. This
document aims to address these needs by focussing on
the relevant ethics learning outcomes of EU module 2
for personal licensees (see appendix 1; module 2 is
also a ‘core module’ for project licensees although,
in addition, they are required to do module 9 which
addresses the same issues in greater depth).
The first part of the document deals with general
principles and addresses the following points:
1.
The overall aim of ethics training – what each learning
outcome should cover and what the overall outcome
for personal licensees should be.
2. What ethics is, why it is important and how it relates
to the use of animals in research.
3. The principles underlying good practice in teaching
this topic, such as the need for a relevant and
practical approach that integrates ethics throughout
the whole training course.
The second part of the document focusses on the
practical aspects of delivering the learning outcomes
(LOs) of module 2 that specifically relate to ethics. Not
all the fourteen LOs directly address this topic; those
that relate to the 3Rs, animal welfare or legislation (see
those in italics in appendix 1) are practical issues that
are generally easier to address, and many can also
be dealt with as part of other modules. For example,
LO 2.9 on severity classification is also dealt with in
module 5; LO 2.11 on ‘the importance of good animal
April 2021 Animal Technology and Welfare
64
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
welfare for good science’ also appears in module 3.
They are, however, based on ethical principles and it is
important to make this clear when delivering them.
A number of learning outcomes however (i.e. LOs 2.1
to 2.4 and 2.12), are directly linked to ethics and part
2 of this document focusses on these. It highlights
how they could be addressed and delivered and the
key points to get across, as well as suggesting some
useful resources and opportunities for CPD (e.g. via the
Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body).
Part 1: General principles
1. Overall aim of the ethics learning
outcomes
On completion of the ethics aspects of EU module 2
trainees should understand what ethics is (see definition
in section 2 below) and be clear about the practical
application of ethical values to animal research. They
should be able to identify the ethical issues within their
own work and that of the establishment as a whole, and
see how ethics is integral to establishing and maintaining
a Culture of Care. They need to understand the importance
of maintaining an open mind and respect for other people’s
opinions, perspectives and beliefs, of acting responsibly
at all times, and of accepting the consequences of their
actions for animals and other people.
The aim, together with the other modules in the course,
is to create thoughtful and reflective licensees, who
are prepared to challenge themselves and strive for
continuous improvement in the work that they do.
They should be better able to think through the harms,
benefits and justification for their work whatever their role
or level of input. They should feel able and comfortable
to question and, where necessary, challenge practices
based on the ‘I’ve always done it like this’ way of
thinking and operating, thus helping to ensure good
science with minimal animal use and suffering.
2. Defining ethics and why it is important
Trainees need to be clear that attitudes, decisions and
laws regarding the use of animals in science are based
on an ethical framework. They need to understand the
ethical components of such frameworks and how they
are identified, developed and applied in practice.
The following points in this section list the main issues
to address. These could be developed into a pre-course
handout with references or links to further reading.
i) What is ethics?
Arguably, everything starts with ethics. Ethics is a
system of moral principles that includes ideas about
right and wrong and how people should, or should not,
behave in general and specific instances. The term is
used in several ways including:
To describe ways of life (for example, Buddhist or
Christian ethics).
To help define practitioners’ rights and responsibilities
within professional codes of conduct and provide
guidance on what are good or bad moral decisions.
Examples are the World Medical Association
Declaration of Helsinki for medical ethics
2
and the UK
Code of Conduct for Veterinary Surgeons.
3
In science,
both funders and journals have ethical guidelines
defining the research they will fund and publish.
4,5
Interchangeably with the term ‘moral’ in public life
to describe ‘desirable’ and ‘undesirable’ behaviour -
what ought and ought not to be done.
Societal views evolve over time. Activities or actions that
are considered acceptable today may be considered
unacceptable in the future. This has been very noticeable
in animal research as advances in our understanding
of animal suffering and animal sentience has led to a
greater commitment within the research community and
wider society to reduce animal use, reduce suffering
and improve the welfare of those animals that are used.
ii) Ethics and the law
Behaving ethically and legally are not always
synonymous. Laws take time to create or amend and, in
our rapidly changing world, some may not reflect current
ethical values or thinking. Moreover behaving ethically
involves more than just following the letter of the law.
6
Laws such as the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act
1986 (ASPA)
7
lay down certain baseline rules and
boundaries but within these there is room for judgement
about what is and is not ethically acceptable.
iii) Ethics and philosophy
Ethics is part of the academic field of moral philosophy.
This has an extensive theoretical base commonly
divided into three areas.
8
Meta-ethics deals with the
nature of moral judgement, exploring the origins and
meaning of ethical principles. Normative ethics is
concerned with the content of moral judgement and the
criteria for what is right or wrong. Applied ethics deals
with the practical application of moral considerations.
Understanding how to make sound choices and
providing a framework for deciding how to make them,
is particularly relevant to many societal concerns such
as abortion, biotechnology, gene therapy and artificial
intelligence.
Applying ethics in practice to the use of animals in
science under the ASPA is most relevant to licensees
and should form the basis for ethics training.
iv) Ethics and the use of animals in science
The most obvious application of an ethical framework is
that of the harm/benefit analysis that is at the centre
of drafting and reviewing a project licence. However
day-to-day decisions have ethical aspects that require
recognition and careful consideration of competing
Guiding principles to help deliver the ethics learning outcomes of module 2 for personal licensees
65
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareGuiding principles to help deliver the ethics learning outcomes of module 2 for personal licensees
human and animal interests, and it is important to get
this message across. For example it may be thought
that the use of analgesia or an enriched environment
will interfere with aspects of the science whereas
the alternative view is that these are essential for
the wellbeing of the animals. Practical ethics involves
exploring the different opinions and perspectives
behind such dilemmas in order to determine what is
regarded as the best solution in each case.
v) Common misconceptions
It is also important to understand the broad remit of
ethics and to avoid misconceptions. For example, in
the field of animal research, ethics is often equated
just with implementing the 3Rs and improving animal
welfare. However although both these issues concern
the reduction of overall animal suffering and are thus a
factor in ethical decision-making, ethics encompasses
a much wider set of considerations and reflection about
what it is justified to do to animals in the name of science.
A second misconception is that debate over animal
experiments exists solely in terms of the polarised
extremes. However public opinion is much more
nuanced than this, encompassing a wide diversity of
perspectives. On balance, the public are ‘conditional
acceptors’ of animal experiments but only provided
that these are carried out to high legal, animal welfare,
scientific and ethical standards.
9
3. Good practice teaching principles
It is important for trainees to recognise that licensee
training is not just about acquiring a personal licence.
The modules have been carefully developed by laboratory
animal scientists across Europe and are designed to
give licensees a good foundation for their future work.
Training content and delivery therefore needs to be relevant
to the participants. In the case of ethics, this means that
a didactic lecture on moral philosophy is unlikely to be
useful. Nevertheless as stated above, trainees need to
understand the ethical issues around the use of animals
and why this is important in their work. It is therefore
a good idea to define these at the start of the course
since all other aspects of the course including legislation,
welfare, husbandry, 3Rs and harm/benefit analysis are
based on ethical principles. This could be done as a
short talk or discussion session using the information
in section 2, with additional information and references
(e.g. on different ethical perspectives) provided as a pre-
course handout for those who want more detail.
Such face to face interaction needs to be related to any
pre-course learning to ensure that this is consolidated.
Some (simple) ethical principles using local examples or
examples otherwise relevant to the trainees, could be
described and these could then be built on by ‘spiralling’
the ethical discussion throughout other elements of
the course (see box below). This means explaining how
In summary
Ethics is a system of moral principles that
encompasses ideas about right and wrong, and
how people should, or should not, behave: a ‘we
can – but should we?’ approach.
Willingness to listen open-mindedly to differing
opinions, perspectives, beliefs and values, whether
in the context of culture, religion, experience or
society, is key to taking part in ethical discussions
with integrity.
Although it may be helpful to understand the
philosophical background, the key aspect for
licensees is practical ethics and how this relates
to science and their own work.
Ethics provides an approach for decision-making
when faced with disagreements and dilemmas.
Such dilemmas require careful identification and
consideration of all the relevant issues, competing
interests and perspectives; ethics helps reconcile
disagreement and contributes to sound and
consistent decisions.
Ethics applies throughout a licensee’s day-to-day
work and is not confined to the ethical review
within project evaluation.
Applying the 3Rs alone does not equate to ‘doing
ethics’ – practical ethics encompasses a much wider
set of considerations about what is, and is not,
acceptable to do to animals and for what purpose.
Spiral curriculum
A spiral curriculum is an educational approach that
involves the student re-visiting the same topics over
the course of their education. This iterative approach
helps to reinforce learning over time, using prior
information to deepen understanding of the subject,
consolidate learning and inform the students’
approach to future learning. It stems from a
behaviourist theory that spaced repetition of learning
is the most helpful way to deepen understanding and
promote long term retention of information.
According to Bruner (p. 141), there are three
components to this approach:
1. Cyclical: the student returns to the same topic
several times during the course of their study.
2. Complexity: each time the topic returns, it is
explored in more depth/ complexity.
3. Prior knowledge: the knowledge gained previously
is used, so that students explore the topic from a
certain level of understanding, rather than starting
from fresh each time.
10
Developing a spiral system of learning (e.g. for
ethics) requires an integrated approach between
tutors for different parts of the course, such that the
whole course hangs together and is delivered in a
connected way.
11
66
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
issues in other modules, such as husbandry, pain and
distress, handling and breeding and colony management,
all have ethical elements.
It can help trainees ‘normalise’ the application of ethics
if they see it as an issue that pervades not only science
in many contexts, but also day-to-day life whenever
decisions have to be made about what should or should
not be done in any given situation. It is also helpful
to note the application of ethics in ensuring research
integrity
12
and to explain that applied ethics is also
important in other contexts such as professional medical
and veterinary ethics, research funding and publishing.
Explaining that ethical principles permeate the culture
of care,
13
which encompasses the way both animals
and staff are treated, helps to emphasise further its
importance and practical application. A good discussion
example to use here would be the ethical issues around
humane killing of animals – whether loss of a life is in
itself a harm and how killing animals affects those who
have to carry this out.
Aside from setting out the definitions and principles
relating to ethics, the topic is best addressed by guided
discussions, preferably in small groups. A discussion
session, that brings together all elements of the learning
outcomes, at the end of the whole training course, when
students are likely to be more communicative, can work
well and is recommended.
There are now a wide range of polling devices which can
be used to gather responses anonymously and stimulate
discussion of a variety of ethical dilemmas or statements
if participants are reticent about speaking up. Ideally
when courses are run in-house it is helpful to bring in
the named people and/or existing personal or project
licensees to contribute to discussions and provide
their personal views on ethical issues, other aspects of
the module and the course as a whole. It may also be
possible to make use of the range of research interests
and ethical viewpoints within different research groups.
These can range from basic to translational research to
animal welfare and conservation studies. This will help
trainees see the diversity of views and perspectives that
can be present even within an establishment.
The AWERB and the Home Office Liaison Contact (HOLC)
could both be a helpful source of in-house examples
for discussion (assuming this is permitted), for example
where a project proposal has generated a lot of debate
during a committee meeting. This could provide a local
resource showing: what made the AWERB think; why
the proposal raised ethical concerns; whether everyone
agreed; and how the issue was resolved. It should be
possible to develop some case studies to discuss in the
course and then put the ‘real life solution or agreement’
up at the end of the discussion. Asking the AWERB
chair to introduce the issue would have the additional
function of raising trainees’ awareness of the AWERB
and its role.
3.1 Pre-course work
Pre-course work helping trainees understand the ethics
learning outcomes and what will be expected of them
will facilitate better use of the teaching time available
(see The Flipped Classroom box). This can also help
provide a more consistent starting position when
trainees come from different educational backgrounds
and/or cultures.
Pre-course work should not only provide information
(e.g. on what ethics is, as mentioned above and see
reference list) but also stimulate thinking. Some options
are:
An activity, such as providing a scenario for students
to think about and discuss later in group work. Or
asking students to set out their own ideas on ethical
dilemmas in life generally or specific to their work.
Delegates could also be presented in advance with
a range of scenarios and score these for whether or
not they are ‘acceptable’ or ‘not acceptable’. These
could be collated and used as a discussion prompt
in class: Why did you make this response? Did you
consider this? Is there is a split of opinion in class
or a consensus? Following the ethics section of the
course, the same questions could be asked again to
see if trainees’ opinions change.
Online facilities also offer the possibility of increasing
the interactivity of pre-course work. For example,
participants can be faced with iterative choices of
dilemmas based on their previous choices.
Further examples are given in the tables in Part 2.
3.2 The importance of feedback
As with all forms of training, it is important to ask course
attendees to evaluate the ethics component. Has it been
helpful and worthwhile? Has it allowed them to reflect
on the issues? Has it been successful in addressing the
learning outcomes? The feedback must then be used to
inform and improve the course.
The Flipped Classroom
Traditional lecture-based teaching can be a passive
form of education. The “Flipped classroom” is a
learning methodology that aims to facilitate deep
learning, better retention and critical thinking by
moving some information- transmission teaching out
of the class. Students are required to complete pre
(and/or post) classroom activities or assignments
(some taking advantage of technological innovations)
which are then used for active learning (e.g. problem
solving, case studies, discussion groups) during the
crucial class time with a teacher.
14-16
Guiding principles to help deliver the ethics learning outcomes of module 2 for personal licensees
67
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareGuiding principles to help deliver the ethics learning outcomes of module 2 for personal licensees
3.3 The importance of CPD
A single session on ethics during licensee training will
not be sufficient to encourage trainees to think routinely
about the ethical implications of their own work and
that of others. It is therefore important to use other
opportunities such as lectures, workshops or dedicated
training sessions as CPD to reinforce the initial
messages and stimulate further thought and reflection
(see spiral curriculum and flipped classroom boxes
above). The AWERB in its role as providing a forum for
discussion and development of ethical advice could be a
useful resource in this respect
17
(see appendix 2).
Explain what ethics is, why it is important and how
it relates to animal research.
Use local examples as illustrations of where
ethical debate has occurred.
‘Normalise’ ethics e.g. by reference to ethics in
daily life, other professional codes of conduct and
with respect to research integrity.
‘Spiral’ (i.e. refer to) ethics throughout the whole
course and pick out examples of how it relates to
other topics such as legislation, welfare, humane
science.
 Show how ethics relates to licensees’ own work
and encourage them to reflect on this.
Allow as much time as possible for the course
including time for discussion.
Bring in named persons, scientists or staff
from other disciplines (e.g. medical ethics) to
participate in discussions.
Re-enforce the ethics learning outcomes in the
rest of the module and in other modules where
relevant.
Make the course interactive – and ensure trainees
are ‘engaged’.
Ask the trainees for feedback and use it to tailor
and improve the course.

Ask the AWERB to organise ethics-related activities.
Covering ethics with a half hour lecture at the start
and then putting it aside for the rest of the course.
Delivering theoretical lectures on utilitarianism,
deontology, virtue ethics, etc.
Quoting historical philosophers and expecting
trainees to know the relevance of their names.
Confusing ethics with the 3Rs and animal welfare.
Interpreting it as the polarised extremes of animal
rights versus legitimate science.
Imposing your views on others; stating there is
‘only one right way’.
Implying that ethical beliefs, perspectives and
dilemmas are static and cannot change over time.
Dumbing down the importance of ethics.
Making it boring!
Things to avoid...
Good practice points…
Summary
68
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
Part 2: Some practical examples for use in teaching
The following tables present the key points to cover under each of the ethics learning outcomes (LOs), together with
ideas in the right-hand column of how these points could be addressed. Learning outcomes addressing similar issues
are coloured similarly since there may be overlap between them and how they are delivered.
Key points to get across:
There is a wide range of opinions on the use of
animals in science and views are now quite nuanced.
The polarised animal experimentation debate
(pro- vs anti-vivisection) is outdated and trainees
need to recognise this and that it is unhelpful to
present society’s views in this way.
Trainees need to think beyond the polarised
extremes and recognise that focussing on this
type of debate prevents people addressing the
real ethical issues in their work.
It is important to be open-minded, listen to and
respect other peoples’ views and try to understand
the basis for these.
People’s views – and hence ethical values – are
constantly evolving. Their views will also depend
on their country of origin, culture, individual
background and experience, circumstances, age
and gender. Views are also affected by the type
of use, species and age of animals.
How delivery could be achieved:
Start by presenting a series of viewpoints on
the use of animals and ask trainees to identify
their position in the spectrum of views with their
reasons. Repeat at the end of the course/module.
Ask trainees to define what ‘respecting other
people’s views means to them. Collate their
thoughts and use these as a platform to promote
discussion.
Use examples of research that was once considered
acceptable (either its purpose or how it was done)
but is not thought so now. Examples include using
death as an end-point and tail tipping for genotyping.
Where training is in-house, try to use local examples
to make it directly relevant e.g. a Contract Research
Organisation (CRO) may no longer be prepared to
test certain types of product or carry out particular
tests requested by a client; a research institute
may decide not to carry out any research that
causes severe suffering or use certain species.
Learning outcome 2.1 Describe the differing views, within society, relating to the scientific
uses of animals and recognise the need to respect these.
Key points to get across:
This LO links to module 1 on national legislation,
so it is helpful to refer to details of the legislation
to re-enforce the responsibility message.
Everyone coming into contact with animals has
a responsibility to treat them with respect and
consideration, minimise use and suffering and
raise issues of concern so that safeguards can
be implemented or maintained. Good welfare
and thoughtful use of animals in experiments is
essential for good science.
The use of animals is a privilege not a right.
The ASPA sets minimum standards for deciding
whether and how animals are used (see module
1:
national legislation) but trainees have a
responsibility to try to improve on these: i.e. to
implement the spirit of the ASPA not just the letter
of the law.
PIL standard conditions set out the specific
responsibilities of personal licensees for the
welfare of the animals they perform procedures on.
How delivery could be achieved:
Ask trainees to describe their impression of a day
in the life of laboratory animals and of the impact
on animals of a procedure they have seen used.
Then discuss within the class whether they have
accurately represented the harms/welfare issues
including lifelong harms, or underplayed these.
Introduce a discussion on transparency
and reporting and ask trainees under what
circumstances they would feel able to raise
concerns about a colleague.
Introduce concept of professionalism and integrity
in research and ask trainees to discuss their
thoughts on appropriate professional behaviours
with regard to both animals and people.
Ask trainees to read the PIL standard conditions
and identify any that they think are not relevant to
their area of work.
Learning outcome 2.2 Describe the responsibility of humans when working with research
animals and recognise the importance of having a respectful and humane attitude towards
working with animals in research.
Guiding principles to help deliver the ethics learning outcomes of module 2 for personal licensees
69
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareGuiding principles to help deliver the ethics learning outcomes of module 2 for personal licensees
Key points to get across:
Ethics encompasses not only how an animal is
used, but also whether an animal is used i.e. the
justification for the research. Too often ethics is
interpreted only in terms of animal welfare and
application of the 3Rs. Both of these issues
are important as they concern the reduction of
animal suffering and are thus a factor in ethical
decision-making. However ethics encompasses a
much wider set of considerations about what it is
justified to do to animals in the name of science.
Application of the 3Rs to reduce animal use and
suffering and enhance animal welfare must be
considered throughout the lifetime of the animal
up to and including euthanasia.
The importance of constructive criticism (by
and to themselves), of being able to challenge
assumptions and of thinking more broadly about
the wider implications of their work for society at
large.
The sanctions that can be applied if PILs do not
consider the consequences of their actions.
Methods are updated and refined and what is
considered acceptable changes over time. Use
of ‘we’ve always done it this way’ as an argument
for maintaining unrefined and poor practice does
not advance the quality and utility of science.
How delivery could be achieved:
Use examples (preferably local and targeted to
the work trainees will be doing) to illustrate how
to identify ethical issues, to start them thinking.
Seek peer support from existing thoughtful
licensees or AWERB members.
Describe a surgical procedure (and potential harms)
in a rat (e.g. an IV cannula with tether) without
context and then for a range of research purposes.
Ask whether the research context changes how the
trainees feel about the harms caused to the animal.
Provide a section of a project licence or grant
proposal and ask trainees to identify the ethical
issues within it.
Ask trainees to give an example of (i) an ethical
and (ii) a welfare issue. Review their suggestions
making sure they recognise that ethics is not just
about welfare, and discuss.
Show how to design a procedure that is
appropriate to the experimental aims and causes
the least harm to the animals and visit the facility
to illustrate this; use simple examples of common
procedures that people can relate to when putting
experiments together.
Ask them to think through:
What questions would I ask of my study before
I start?
What questions should I ask at the end?
How would I describe the benefits of the work
and how/why do they outweigh the harms?
How would I justify my work to myself and my
colleagues, the Home Office Inspector, or a
stranger?
Use discussion topics to consider the ethical issues
around animal use for studies/procedures such as:
Research into diseases caused / worsened by
human behaviour e.g. pollution from vehicles
and the effects this has on COPD; safety
assessment of vaping; effects of night club
noise on hearing; drug addiction studies.
Development of brain organoids and their
implantation into animals.
Treating or triaging patients based on survival
predictions (casualty, emergency situations,
humanitarian aid).
Cloning of agricultural or competition animals.
Long term housing of animals; removal of
enrichment for an experimental purpose.
Provide an example of why a project was turned
down.
Turn trainees into an AWERB getting them to role-
play different categories of staff with an example
project licence to review.
Use a dilemma website tool or ethical reasoning
tool.
Learning outcome 2.3 Identify ethical and animal welfare issues in their own work and be
aware and able to reflect on the consequences of their own actions.
70
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
Key points to get across:
Scientific research uses public money and is done
‘for public benefit’. Therefore information should
be available to the public on what is done.
Openness and transparency contribute to
ensuring public trust and conditional acceptance
of animal use. Explain the role and content of the
non-technical summary (NTS) and the Concordat
on Openness in this respect.
18,19
Accurate information is critical to informing opinion.
A decision based on inadequate information on
all the relevant factors is a prejudiced decision
not an ethical one.
It is obviously acceptable to hold differing views
but opinions need to be based on correct facts, not
rhetoric (from any source) and it is essential to be
able to recognise and acknowledge the difference.
Everyone can have their own beliefs but all must
work within the ethical framework of the ASPA.
How delivery could be achieved:
Use good and poor examples from the NTS as
discussion points.
Use recent Mori poll information
9
– discuss the
questions and responses and how trainees would
have responded.
As a thought-starter, ask trainees what would
make them trust people working in a different
field such as climate change or human cloning.
What expectations would they have? Then relate
this back to their own field and ethical values.
Provide links to the Concordat on Openness and
discuss what could be done to deliver it. Ask
trainees what their own establishments do about
openness and suggest they find out if they do not
already know.
Learning outcome 2.4 Recognise that compliance with ethical principles may contribute to
the long-term trust and acceptance in scientific research from the general public.
Key points to get across:
All establishments must have a Culture of Care
and trainees have a responsibility to find out
about the elements of this.
The definition and expectations of a culture of care
and what this looks like in practice, emphasising
it is for people (treating them thoughtfully and with
consideration and respect) as well as for animals.
The Culture of Care should define the local
standards expected but as individuals, trainees
should always look for ways to improve current
practice. They should lead by example and be
aware of the effect their behaviour has on others
around them.
How delivery could be achieved:
The definition of a Culture of Care can be found in the
RSPCA/LASA Guiding Principles on good practice
for AWERBs
20
so this section of the document could
be provided as a handout and talked through. The
Norecopa International Culture of Care website
13
also has excellent information on the key factors
which foster a culture of care with details of how
this can be developed and promoted.
Ask trainees to think about what the term
means to them and what they think are the key
components for their research group.
Some trainers teach this later in the course
bringing in the named people, AWERB members
or project licensees to talk about their own role,
expectations and experiences.
Learning outcome 2.12 Describe the need for a culture of care and the individual’s role in
contributing to this.
Key points to get across:
This LO is relevant to all other LOs and all
modules.
How delivery could be achieved:
Provide a handout with up to date references and
links to useful websites.
Provide information on the roles of all the Named
Persons and the Home Office Liaison Contact
(HOLC) and advise trainees to find out who they are.
Advise trainees to sign up to key newsletters and
to stay up to date.
Learning outcome 2.13 Describe relevant sources of information relating to ethics, animal
welfare and the implementation of the Three Rs.
Guiding principles to help deliver the ethics learning outcomes of module 2 for personal licensees
71
August 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareAugust 2020 Animal Technology and WelfareGuiding principles to help deliver the ethics learning outcomes of module 2 for personal licensees
Appendix 1 EU Module 2: Ethics,
animal welfare and the Three Rs
(level 1) [Core]
This module provides guidance and information to
enable individuals working with animals to identify,
understand and respond appropriately, to the ethical and
welfare issues raised by the use of animals in scientific
procedures generally and, where appropriate, within
their own programme of work. It provides information to
enable individuals to understand and to apply the basic
principles of the Three Rs.
Learning Outcomes Trainees should be able to:
2.1 Describe the differing views, within society, relating
to the scientific uses of animals and recognise the
need to respect these.
2.2 Describe the responsibility of humans when
working with research animals and recognise the
importance of having a respectful and humane
attitude towards working with animals in research.
2.3 Identify ethical and animal welfare issues in their
own work and be aware and able to reflect on the
consequences of their own actions.
2.4 Recognise that compliance with ethical principles
may contribute to the long-term trust and
acceptance in scientific research from the general
public.
2.5 Describe how the law is based on an ethical
framework which requires 1) weighing the harms
and benefits of projects (the harm/benefit
assessment) 2) applying the Three Rs to minimise
the harm, maximise benefits and 3) promote good
animal welfare practices.
2.6 Describe and discuss the importance of the Three
Rs as a guiding principle in the use of animals in
scientific procedures.
2.7 Explain the Five Freedoms and how these apply to
laboratory species.
2.8 Describe the concept of harms to animals including
avoidable and unavoidable suffering, direct,
contingent and cumulative suffering.
2.9 Describe the severity classification system,
and give examples of each category. Describe
cumulative severity and the effect this may have on
the severity classification.
2.10
Describe the regulations regarding re-use of
animals.
2.11
Describe the importance of good animal welfare
including its effect on scientific outcomes as well
as for societal and moral reasons.
2.12
Describe the need for a Culture of Care and the
individual’s role in contributing to this.
2.13
Describe relevant sources of information relating to
ethics, animal welfare and the implementation of
the Three Rs.
2.14
Be aware of different search tools (e.g. EURL
ECVAM Search Guide) and methods of search (e.g.
systematic reviews,
21
meta analysis).
22
Appendix 2 Ethics and the AWERB
Ethics is integral to the functions and tasks of the AWERB
as would be expected by its title. Ethics is specifically
mentioned in two of the four key AWERB functions,
including with respect to training i.e. –
to provide a forum for discussion and development of
ethical advice to the establishment licence holder on
matters relating to animal welfare, care and use and
to support named persons and other staff dealing
with animals, on animal welfare, ethical issues and
provision of appropriate training.
To meet the need for a forum for discussion, AWERBs
could organise ethics related activities as suggested in
both the ‘Guiding Principles on good practice for Animal
Welfare and Ethical Review Bodies’ and the ‘AWERB as a
Forum for Discussion’ documents.
17,20
For example:
considering whether an establishment wants to rule
out certain types of work, or use of certain species or
techniques; or how it deals with severe procedures
organising informal lunchtime discussions enabling
people to bring novel ideas or consider controversial
issues, or discuss their own work and its ethical
implications
recruiting (to the above) someone from a related but
different field to compare viewpoints e.g. a zoologist
vs a laboratory animal viewpoint
appointing ‘ethics champions’ who can raise difficult
underlying ethical questions
considering the emotional wellbeing of staff involved
in killing animals
for people who have worked abroad, discuss what
they are permitted to do in their country and whether
and how this differs from the UK.
Making such discussions widely open to staff
encourages them to understand and be more aware of
ethical issues and consider the implications for their own
work, so contributing to the culture of care. It also has
the additional advantage of exposing AWERB members
themselves to ethical discussions since many will
probably not have had any ethics training unless they
have attended the relevant modules.
Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank trainers from the three
UK training bodies for their valuable input and comments
during the development of this document.
Suggested background reading and
resources
Bioethics
Nuffield Council on Bioethics animal research web page:
nuffieldbioethics.org/topics/animals-food-and-environment/
animal-research
72
Animal Technology and Welfare August 2020
Susan Gilbert, Gregory E. Kaebnick, and Thomas H.
Murray, eds., Animal Research Ethics: Evolving Views
and Practices, Hastings Center Special Report 42, no.
6 (2012): S1–S40. animalresearch.thehastingscenter.
org/special-report/
RC Simmons et al. (2018) Bioethics and Animal Use
in Programs of Research, Teaching, and Testing. Boca
Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis. pubmed.ncbi.
nlm.nih.gov/29787201/
Kraus, A. Lanny, and Renquist, David, eds. (2000)
Bioethics and the Use of Laboratory Animals: Ethics
in Theory and Practice. ACLAM. aclam.org/media/
d9ecd55d-5edc-4fce-b0a4-9ad6e7705da0/P-RsCw/
ACLAM/Publications/Bioethics_Kraus.pdf
AWERBs and ethical review
RSPCA/LASA Guiding principles on good practice for
AWERBs: lasa.co.uk/PDF/AWERB_Guiding_Principles_2015
_final.pdf
RSPCA Lay Members’ Resource Book, Appendix A:
What is Ethics: tinyurl.com/RSPCALMRB
RSPCA/LASA/LAVA/IAT meeting report: Putting Ethics
into the AWERB: tinyurl.com/AWERB-UK2017
RSPCA Ethical Review webpages. science.rspca.org.uk/
sciencegroup/researchanimals/ethicalreview
Röcklinsberg H, Gamborg C, Gjerris M. (2014) A case
for integrity: gains from including more than animal
welfare in animal ethics committee deliberations.
Laboratory Animals 48(1):61- 71. doi: 10.1177/
0023677213514220
References
1
European Commission (2013) A working document
on the development of a common education
and training framework to fulfil the requirements
under the Directive. ec.europa.eu/environment/
chemicals/lab_animals/pdf/guidance/education_
training/en.pdf
2
World Medical Association (2013) Declaration of
Helsinki. wma.net/what-we-do/medical-ethics/
declaration-of-helsinki/
3
Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons UK Code
of Conduct for Veterinar y Surgeons. rcvs.org.uk/
setting-standards/advice-and-guidance/code-of-
professional-conduct-for- veterinary-surgeons/
4
NC3Rs/BBSRC/Defra/MRC/NERC/Royal Society/
Wellcome Trust (2019) Responsibility in the use
of animals in bioscience research: expectations of
the major research councils and charitable funding
bodies, 3rd edition. London: NC3Rs. nc3rs.org.uk/
responsibility-use- animals-bioscience-research
5
S Jarvis, JEL Day, B Reed (undated) Ethical guidelines
for research in animal science (for publication in
Animal) animal-journal.eu/instructions-and-policies/
6
Boyd KM, Higgs R, Pinching AJ (eds) (1997) A new
dictionary of medical ethics. BMJ Publishing group:
London.
7
Home Office (2012) Animals (Scientific Procedures)
Act 1986 (ASPA). gov.uk/government/publications/
consolidated-version-of-aspa-1986
8
Ethics from The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
(IEP) (ISSN 2161- 0002) iep.utm.edu/ethics/
9
Ipsos MORI (2018) Public attitudes to animal
research in 2018. ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en- uk/
public-attitudes-animal-research-2018
10
Bruner, J. S. (1960). The Process of Education.
Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
11
Education Partnerships, Inc. (2012) The Spiral
Curriculum. files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED538282.pdf
12
UK Research Integrity Office (2019) Research Integrity:
A Primer on Research Involving Animals. UKRIO,
Croydon, UK. doi.org/10.37672/UKRIO.2019.01.animals
13
The International Culture of Care Network: norecopa.
no/coc
14
Lakmal Abeysekera & Phillip Dawson (2015)
Motivation and cognitive load in the flipped classroom:
definition, rationale and a call for research, Higher
Education Research & Development, 34:1, 1-14,
DOI: 10.1080/07294360.2014.934336
15
Bouwmeester Rianne A.M. [et al.]. (2019) Flipping the
medical classroom: Effect on workload, interactivity,
motivation and retention of knowledge. Computers
and Education 139: 118-128. doi.org/10.1016/j.
compedu.2019.05.002
16
Anna Therese Steen-Utheim & Njål Foldnes (2018) A
qualitative investigation of student engagement in a
flipped classroom, Teaching in Higher Education, 23:
3, 307-324, DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2017.1379481
17
RSPCA, LASA, LAVA, IAT, University of Nottingham &
ESRC (2017) Delivering Effective Ethical Review: The
AWERB as a ‘Forum for Discussion’. view.pagetiger.
com/AWERB/AWERB
18
Understanding Animal Research (undated) Writing
Non-Technical Summaries: A Researcher’s Guide.
understandinganimalresearch.org.uk/files/5115/
3235/6558/Writing_NTS_summaries.pdf
19
Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the
UK: concordatopenness.org.uk/
20
RSPCA/LASA Guiding Principles on Good Practice for
AWERBs (2015) lasa.co.uk/PDF/AWERB_Guiding_
Principles_2015_final.pdf
21
Systematic Review Center for Laboratory animal
Experimentation (SYRCLE)
radboudumc.nl/en/research/
departments/health-evidence/systematic-review-
center-for-laboratory-animal-experimentation
22
Carlijn R. Hooijmans, Joanna IntHout, Merel Ritskes-
Hoitinga, Maroeska M. Rovers, Meta-Analyses
of Animal Studies: An Introduction of a Valuable
Instrument to Further Improve Healthcare, ILAR
Journal, Volume 55, Issue 3, 2014, Pages 418-426
,
https://doi.org/10.1093/ilar/ilu042
Guiding principles to help deliver the ethics learning outcomes of module 2 for personal licensees
49
Haven’t the time to write a paper but want to have something published? Then read on!
This section offers readers the opportunity to submit infor mal contributions about any
aspects of Animal Technology. Comments, observations, descriptions of new or refined
techniques, new products or equipment, old products or equipment adapted to new use,
any subject that may be useful to technicians in other institutions. Submissions can be
presented as technical notes and do not need to be structured and can be as short or as
long as is necessary. Accompanying illustrations and/or photos should be high resolution.
NB. Descriptions of new products or equipment submitted by manufacturers are welcome
but should be a factual account of the product. However, the Editorial Board gives no
warranty as to the accuracy or fitness for purpose of the product.
What 3Rs idea have you developed?
EMMA FILBY
Mira Building, University of Cambridge, University Biomedical Services,
Charles Babbage Road, Cambridge CB3 0FS
Correspondence: emma.filby@admin.cam.ac.uk
Based on an article written for the National Centre for the 3Rs
April 2020 Animal Technology and Welfare
TECH-2-TECH
Background
Emma was invited to write an article as a 3Rs
champion in NC3Rs ‘Tech 3Rs’