IAT Journal
Animal Technology
and Welfare
Official Journal of the Institute of Animal Technology
and European Federation of Ani mal Technologists
Vol 15 No 2 August 2016
ISSN 1742-0385
Positive Reinforceme nt Training for Dogs
RSPCA focus on Severe Sufferi ng
Talking about Culture of Care
More Congress Posters
Editorial 82
Jas Barley, Chair of the Editorial Board
Implementing a successful positive reinforcement training protocol in laboratory-housed dogs 83
Laura E.M. Scullion Hall and Sally Robinson
The RSPCA focus on severe suffering project 89
Penny Hawkins
The evening of the sudden heart attack a patient’s personal account of how the skills of doctors and medical 101
research, saved his life
Gary Martinic
Preparing a paper presentation for Congress 111
Institute of Animal Technology
Information and instructions for preparing a poster for Congress 115
Institute of Animal Technology
Let’s talk about ‘Culture of Care’ 117
Nikki Osborne
Do present United Kingdom regulations covering experiments using laboratory animals strike the right balance 119
between the interests of human health and laboratory animal welfare?
Jessica Wood
Do present United Kingdom regulations covering experiments using laboratory animals strike the right balance 123
between the interests of human health and laboratory animal welfare?
Everest Onwubiko
Do present United Kingdom regulations covering experiments using laboratory animals strike the right balance 126
between the interests of human health and laboratory animal welfare?
Jamie Barratt
More breeding for less surplus: the advantages of using B6CBA to supply F1 mice 129
Leila Thomas, Colin Travis, Claudia Watson, Terry Brown, Brendan Doe and Francesca Flack
Non-human primate housing facility at Newcastle University 131
Stevie O’Keefe
Do different strains prefer different enrichments? 133
Rhiannon Atkinson
Innovative enrichment for the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) 136
Matteo Battilocchi, Garr y Fulcher, Zoe Windsor, Aaron Smith, Ria Fisher and Claire Pearce
Evaluation of p-Chip (Pharmaseq) microchip as an identification method for Xenopus tropicalis Biological 138
Research Facility (BRF) The Crick
Lucy Fern
Refinement of rodent identification by implementation of an ear tagging system 141
Jacqui Swan, Matt Smith, Noelia Lopez-Salensansky, Richard Marais and Lisa Doar
Instructions to Authors 145
Index to Advertisers xv
Vol 15 No 2 August 20 16
Animal Technology and Welfare aims to be the medium for animal technologists and all those concerned with the care and welfare of animals used for research purposes to
communicate ‘best practice’. ATW especially aims to promote and develop the 3Rs particularly in respect of Refinement. More importantly, ATW promotes the generally accepted
‘4th R’, Responsibility. The responsibility that all animal technologists have in ensuring dissemination of ‘best practice’ to every institution using animals in research. ATW
enjoys a unique position as the scientific publication for the leading organisations (IAT and EFAT) for the welfare of animals in research.
Editor: Jas Barley atweditor@iat.org.uk
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August 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
Jas Barley
Chair of the Editorial Board
Before I continue please accept my deepest apologies for the delay of this issue and the reduced content. Unfortunately
during our lifetimes all of us sooner or later will experience periods when our priorities will be dictated by events beyond
our control and my life took such a turn which has meant that all things other than absolute necessities had to be put
on hold. Now that life is returning to a more usual state (I hesitate to use the term normal), rather than delay further
whilst I prepare additional content I’ve decided to issue what I have in order to get back on schedule as soon as possible.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Institute’s Council for their forbearance and support during this difficult time
and also thank our advertisers together with Sue Ojakowa and Warwick Printing for their support and patience.
This issue takes no particular theme but makes a break from our normal type of content by including a very moving and
informative article on how one of our regular contributors, Gary Martinic, survived a heart attack thanks to modern
medicine. His doctors made use of knowledge and technology, much of which was developed due to research involving
animal use. If you have any doubts regarding the value of our work I’m sure Gary would be only too happy to reassure us
of its worth. Glad to have you still on board Gary and look forward to further contributions from you in the future.
Another new type of article is from Nikki Osborne’s blog. The included blog is on Culture of Care something that we all
need to consider and continually monitor in order to provide the best welfare for the animals in our charge and to prevent
the phrase just becoming lip service. There are other blogs on the web that discuss topics of interest to our members
and subscribers, so if you have a favourite that is relevant to our readership please let me know and I’ll see if anything
is available that others may benefit from. Although we assume that everyone these days has access to the internet this
is not the case, especially for those working in developing countries. It has also been brought to my attention that some
members are unable to use a computer due to medical conditions e.g. some forms of epilepsy.
A more ‘regular’ type of paper is provided by Laura Scullion Hall and Sally Robinson on implementing a successful positive
reinforcement training protocol in laboratory-housed dogs. Although, when compared to the numbers of rodents used,
dogs are one of the less used species in the UK, they make an important contribution in many fields of research both
within the UK and globally. Training of animals to participate willingly in procedures is one method of refining procedures.
Despite the acknowledged need for such training in the laboratory-housed dog and the availability of training protocols for
the pet or working dog, few published studies exist detailing the implementation of training protocols. This paper outlines
a positive reinforcement-based protocol and describes the implementation in a busy pharmaceutical industry
A further article from a regular contributor to Animal Technology and Welfare (ATW), namely Penny Hawkins of the
Research Animals Department at the RSPCA is also offered. This time the report concerns the focus by the RSPCA on
their Severe Suffering project, of which the Institute is a major supporter. I would commend readers to take time to read
the report and see what steps can be implemented in their own establishments.
Further posters from Congress 2016 are included in this issue and it is my intention to publish the remaining submissions
that have been made available to ATW in the December issue. You will have recently seen the call for Platform
presentations and Posters for Congress 2017. If you have already registered your interest in taking your first steps
towards speaking in public there is some useful guidance on both presenting and preparing a poster on the IAT website
within the Congress section. However, hard copy of this guidance is included in the Tech-2-Tech section of this issue.
Our purpose is to advance knowledge and promote excellence in the care and welfare of
animals in science and to enhance the standards and status of those professionally
engaged in the care, welfare and use of animals in science.
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ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page x
August 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
Implementing a successful positive
reinforcement training protocol in
laboratory-housed dogs
Behaviour and Evolution Research Group, Psychology, School of Natural Sciences,
University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA
Drug Safety and Metabolism, AstraZeneca, Alderley Park, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 4TF
Correspondence: laura.hall@stir.ac.uk
Training is recognised as important for laboratory
animals, both to improve welfare and increase the
efficiency of conducting husbandry and regulated
procedures. Despite the acknowledged need for such
training in the laboratory-housed dog and the
availability of training protocols for the pet or working
dog, few published studies exist detailing the
implementation of training protocols. Refinement of
restraint for procedures and husbandry can improve
welfare. This paper outlines a positive reinforcement-
based protocol and describes the implementation in a
busy pharmaceutical industry environment. Sixty-six
naive dogs held as stock were trained in brief, once-
weekly training sessions for four weeks. Data were
recorded on behaviour and progress in training. The
results support the implementation of brief, structured
training to increase welfare and compliance. The
scoring tools used also identified a small number of
dogs which failed to respond to training, providing a
means for staff to allocate dogs best suited to short-
or long-term studies.
Laboratory-housed dog, training, Positive Reinforcement
Training (PRT), 3Rs, refinement, welfare
Work carried out at Drug Safety and Metabolism,
AstraZeneca, Alderley Park, Macclesfield, Cheshire.
The use of dogs in laboratories
Dogs are a commonly-used second species in the
safety testing of new medicines with over 3,500 used
in the UK in 2013
and over 100,000 used globally
each year.
Dogs are given additional protection under
the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986 (ASPA)
and there is an ethical and scientific imperative to
maximise the benefits while minimising the harms
associated with their use in scientific testing.
Welfare, or the ability of an individual to cope with its
is acknowledged to influence the quality
of the data obtained from the use of animals in
scientific procedures. Refinement, one of the guiding
principles of humane experimental practice, is
defined as
‘Any approach which avoids or minimises the actual
or potential pain, distress and other adverse effects
experienced at any time during the life of the
animals involved and which enhances their
Refinement, therefore, must apply to all aspects of the
lifetime of a laboratory-housed dog, not only the time
during which it is on-study. Improving welfare must
begin while dogs are held at stock, during which time
acclimatisation and basic habituation are normally
conducted, although this varies across industry.
A multi-faceted Welfare Assessment Framework was
developed for the laboratory-housed dog,
measures of affect, behaviour, mechanical pressure
threshold and cardiac output. It was found that dogs
with negative welfare had a negative affective state, a
lower tolerance for mechanical pressure, higher blood
pressure and more negative welfare indicating
behaviours in the home pen and greater cardiac and
behavioural changes when exposed to positive and
negative behavioural challenges. In particular, the
response of the dogs to restraint
suggested that
refinements to the technique were necessary.
Positive Reinforcement Training
Training of laboratory-housed dogs, in particular table
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 83
training, is common although techniques and frequency
of training vary considerably. Habituation (repeated
exposure to an aversive event) is common practice for
regulated procedures in the laboratory setting and may
result in a decreased behavioural response to the
aversive stimulus or event.
However this may not
represent actual habituation but rather a “freezing”
response and cooperation, while internally, arousal has
not decreased.
It is commonly recommended that
some form of “habituation” take place before a study,
however the interpretation of its use varies and there is
currently no standardisation in the use of
desensitisation within the laboratory environment for
the dog.
This may be due to a lack of understanding of
the distinction between habituation and desensitisation
and lack of a structured programme to implement
desensitisation. As such, negative reinforcement (NRT)
training is often more commonly used than positive
reinforcement. NRT may involve the use of an
unpleasant stimulus and as such encourages fear,
resistance and avoidance, all of which are undesirable
states in an in vivo model of a healthy human.
Positive Reinforcement Training (PRT) is a form of
operant training, in which the subject (dog) has to
perform an active behaviour in order to receive
feedback. The addition of an appetitive stimulus to
increase the occurrence of a behaviour.
The use of PRT rather than classical conditioning (e.g.
habituation or desensitisation) has the benefit of
increasing the choice and control
of the subject, both
of which are known to be important to good welfare.
Requiring the subject to make an active choice to
express a behaviour allows it a sense of control, while
also increasing the predictability of an event. PRT is
favoured over NRT for its effectiveness and the use of
only appetitive stimuli, rather than aversive stimuli, is
considered more ethically acceptable.
PRT is well-described as an effective technique in the
pet dog
or working dog,
as well as in other
laboratory species,
yet there are few experimental
accounts of the benefits in the case of the laboratory-
housed dog. A study of refinements to the protocol
used in dosing by oral gavage
found that amongst
other refinements, PRT mitigated the negative changes
in welfare associated with restraint and oral gavage.
Habituation, which occurs by NRT, was found to result
in decreased welfare and increased time to dose.
Increased positive staff contact
While operant learning is the focus of this study, social
learning in dogs must also be accounted for when
developing a training plan, given dogs’ affinity for
understanding our intention,
and vocal communication.
Dogs also utilise
social referencing to interpret unfamiliar situations.
Positive human contact is known to benefit dogs in a
number of behavioural,
and physiological
ways. Specifically in the laboratory-housed dog, periods
of positive staff contact can increase overall welfare in
the home pen.
For these reasons, this training
protocol was designed to not only achieve a specific
training goal but to use the contact between dogs and
staff to improve dog welfare.
The aims of the present study were (1) to investigate the
efficacy of a training protocol for laboratory-housed dogs
and (2) to evaluate the benefits of the training protocol
in relation to the feasibility of its implementation. It was
hypothesised that behaviour on the table, and the stage
of training demonstrated by each dog would improve
from Week 1 to Week 4. It was also hypothesised that
the design of the training protocol and the tools used to
measure progress would prove useful to staff and
increase overall ease of interaction with the dogs.
Animals and housing
A total of 66 AZ strain beagle dogs (27 male, 39
female) took part in the training protocol. At the start
of training, dogs were aged between 12-24 months. All
dogs were naive to regulated procedures and received
no training other than handling during weekly health
Dogs were housed in same-sex groups of up to 10 dogs
in two interconnecting pens of approximately 15m
each. A variety of chew toys were provided as
enrichment and there were raised platforms of varying
heights within the home pens. Dogs were allowed
access to outdoor exercise areas containing climbing
frames at least once per week.
Training protocol
No structured training protocol had previously been in
place. Before the delivery of the training protocol
began, staff received training in the welfare
assessment and training of laboratory-housed dogs
including both theory and practical learning.
The overall goal of training was for dogs to exhibit the
behaviour ‘calm sitting while restrained’ when placed
on the table. A combination of luring, shaping and
stationing was used in the training protocol. All
behaviour offered by the dogs was voluntary, with staff
instructed to avoid physical manipulation of the dogs.
Stages of training were devised and are shown in
Table 1. It was necessary for a dog to have met the
criteria of all previous stages of training before
progressing to the next. Staff were also provided with
photographic guides to the behaviours exhibited at
each stage of training and troubleshooting for
unexpected behaviours.
Implementing a successful positive reinforcement training protocol in laboratory-housed dogs
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 84
Implementing a successful positive reinforcement training protocol in laborator y-housed dogs
The training protocol was delivered to each dog once
weekly for four weeks. Each training session was
between 2-5 minutes with the time decreasing as staff
proficiency in training increased. Four members of staff
were chosen as trainers and in addition to usual
husbandry duties they undertook training during
weekday afternoons. Staff worked in pairs with one
conducting the training and the other recording
behaviour and stage of training data on the record
sheet. Typically, one room each of male and female
dogs would be trained per day.
Data collection
Trainers recorded both the stage of training achieved
each week (A-G; Table 1) and behaviours exhibited
(range -18 to +6; Table 2). All behaviours were scored
as occurring not at all, some of the time or all of the
This design and implementation of this study was
overseen by scientific and veterinary staff. No
regulated procedures were conducted and therefore no
additional approval was required under ASPA.
Change in behaviour on the table
Figure 1 shows the increase in scores across the four
weeks of training. Training scores for all dogs
significantly improved from a mean score of -3.41 in
Week 1 to +3.64 in Week 4 (Wilcoxon signed ranks test
Z=6.483, p<.001). Male and female dogs only differed
significantly in behaviour score in Week 3 (Mann
Whitney U test, U=347.5, p=.015), see Figure 2.
Stage Description
A Does not accept treats (nervous or excited).
B Accepts treats from handler.
C Calm and relaxed on table.
D Attempts sitting behaviour.
E Shows brief sits.
F Can maintain a longer sit.
G Sits well and tolerates gentle restraint.
Table 1. Stages of training
Figure 1. Behaviour scores over four weeks of training
for all dogs.
Figure 2. Behaviour scores over four weeks of training
by sex.
Figure 3. Training stage reached over four weeks of
training for all dogs.
Stage of training reached
Stage of training also significantly improved from Week
1 to Week 4 (Wilcoxon signed ranks test, Z=-6.722,
p<.001). In Week 1, 46 dogs were at Stage A or B of
training (mean = Stage B). Only four dogs were at Stage
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 85
Implementing a successful positive reinforcement training protocol in laboratory-housed dogs
E or F. After the final training session in Week 4, four
dogs were at Stage A and 10 were at Stage B. In Week
4, the mean stage of training was E with 48 dogs (73%)
at Stages E-G of training (Figure 3). Male and female
dogs did not differ in stage achieved during Weeks 1-3,
however in Week 4, females had a higher mean stage
than males (Mann Whitney U test, U=367.5, p=.032),
see Figure 4.
Suitability of the table training tool
Three male dogs and four female dogs had consistently
negative behaviour scores across the four weeks of
training with scores in Week 4 ranging from -15 to -3.
These dogs also did not progress beyond Stage B of
training. It was decided that training would continue for
as long as feasible in order to determine if additional
sessions would be beneficial.
These dogs were given additional training over the
following six weeks by the end of which all dogs had a
minimum behaviour score of 0, however they remained
at training Stage A or B. From these results, it appears
that the response of dogs to training in the first four
weeks predicts the success of training. Those dogs
which had a negative behaviour score in Week 4 did not
respond well to additional training.
These results support two important findings. Firstly,
that four weeks of brief training sessions is sufficient
to improve the behaviour and training of most dogs with
73% achieving Stages E–F of training. Secondly, the
table training tool is a sensitive measure of
responsiveness to training, with dogs which had
consistently negative behavioural scores failing to
respond to an additional six weeks of training. This
means that using the table training tool, dogs which are
unlikely to adapt to regulated protocols and other
aspects of being on-study, can be identified. It is
accepted that dogs which fail to adapt and therefore
have negative welfare should not be assigned to long-
term studies for ethical and scientific reasons. This
table training tool should therefore be useful to
technical and veterinary staff in assessing the
suitability of dogs for long-term studies.
Results of training protocol
The results of the training protocol showed a significant
improvement in both behaviour and stage of training
over the four weeks of training. Other than in Week 3
male and female dogs did not differ significantly in
behaviour score. However, female dogs were at a
higher mean stage of training in Week 4. This suggests
that females dogs may respond better to training. The
mean stage of training in Week 4 was E (shows brief
sits) which means that most dogs were exhibiting calm
behaviour and volunteering the desired behaviour.
Behavioural indicators of welfare also improved
significantly from Week 1 to Week 4, with a mean score
of +3.64 of a maximum +6. This indicates that the
protocol has been successful in improving the welfare
of the dogs while being handled on the table. Our
previous research e.g.
suggests that brief restraint
can have a negative welfare impact on dogs but also
that positive reinforcement training can mitigate this
Many of the dogs used in this study were later
transferred to a contract research organisation where
they were used in long-term colonies. Staff noted that
these dogs were easier to handle and better adapted to
regulated procedures than dogs from other sources
(personal communication April 2015), although this
was not quantified using the tools in this study. This
lasting effect suggests that the investment in training
resulted in long-term benefits to dogs and staff.
Ease of implementation
Staff reported the training protocol to be easy to
implement and the results to be readily observable.
Assigning four dedicated staff to training was
determined to be a contributing factor to the overall
success of the protocol. This allowed staff to quickly
become proficient in the techniques and to maintain
consistency between training sessions. The length of
training sessions decreased as staff became more
proficient and as dogs’ training progressed, with many
dogs needing no more than two minutes of training per
week. This was determined to be an acceptable
increase in duties for staff.
Use of scoring tools
The tools used to score behaviours and stages of
training sessions were developed from those used in.
Figure 4. Training stage reached over four weeks of
training by sex.
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 86
Implementing a successful positive reinforcement training protocol in laborator y-housed dogs
These tools proved to be easy-to-use for staff and
sensitive to changing behaviour in the dogs. Further,
the behavioural scoring proved to be useful in
identifying dogs which did not respond well to training
(7/66). The majority of dogs responded well to four
weeks of training. However those that did not failed to
respond to additional training.
It is recognised that dogs which fail to adapt to the
events associated with being on-study should not be
assigned to long-term studies or re-use colonies,
however, there has been no evidence-based method of
doing this. Anecdotally, technical staff who work with
dogs have expressed a desire to identify such dogs in
order to assign them to appropriate studies of shorter
duration, or terminal studies. The use of the
behavioural scoring tool described here should assist
staff in decision making.
The results of this study show a clear improvement in
both behaviour and training across four weeks. The
majority of dogs had reached a satisfactory level of
training by the fourth week, while the use of positive
reinforcement training also improved the welfare of the
dogs while on the table. Dogs which failed to respond
to four weeks of training also failed to respond
sufficiently to additional training, meaning that the
behavioural scoring tool can be used to identify these
dogs and assign them to appropriate studies. Staff
were able to incorporate the protocol into regular duties
and quickly became proficient in the training
techniques, which increased the success of the study.
Given the benefits of implementing positive
reinforcement training and the ease of implementation,
it is recommended that a protocol such as this is
implemented in dog units.
The authors are indebted to LB for her assistance and
enthusiasm in implementing the preceding study and
over-seeing the collection of data and to CD, KH and
EW for carrying out training.
Home Office. (2013). Statistics of Scientific Procedures
on Living Animals in Great Britain 2012. Crown Copyright.
Hall, L.E. (2014). A practical framework for harmonising
welfare and quality of data output in the laboratory-
housed dog. PhD Thesis, University of Stirling, Stirling,
Broom, D. (1986). Indicators of poor welfare. British
Veterinary Journal; Vol 142 No 6, 524-526.
Russell, W. and Burch, R. (1959). The Principles of
Humane Experimental Technique. Universities Federation
for Animal Welfare, Wheathampstead, UK.
Buchanan-Smith, H.M., Rennie, A. and Vitale, A. et al.
(2005). Harmonising the definition of refinement. Animal
Welfare Vol 14 No 4, 379-384.
Hall, L.E., Robinson, S. and Buchanan-Smith, H.M. (in
prep) A welfare assessment framework for the laboratory-
housed dog: linking welfare and data output.
Laule, G. (2010). Positive Reinforcement Training for
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Prescott, M.J., Morton, D., Anderson, D. et al. (2004).
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protocol to harmonise welfare. Journal of Pharmacological
and Toxicological Methods; Vol 72, 35-4
Téglás, E., Gergely. A., Kupán, K.E., Gergely, A., Kupán,
K. et al. (2012). Dogs’ gaze following is tuned to human
communicative signals. Current Biology; Vol 22 No 3,
Müller, C.A., Schmitt, K., Barber, A.L. et al. (2015). Dogs
can discriminate emotional expressions of human faces.
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readers of our face readers of our minds? Dogs (Canis
familiaris) show situation-dependent recognition of
humans attention. Animal cognition; Vol 7 No 3, 144-153.
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August 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
The RSPCA focus on severe suffering
Research Animal Department, RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, West Sussex RH13 9RS
Correspondence: penny.hawkins@rspca.org.uk
The RSPCA Research Animals Department has an
ongoing project that focuses on reducing and avoiding
‘severe’ suffering which has been well supported by
the Institute of Animal Technology (IAT). This short
article describes two current initiatives; an online
information resource and a ‘Road map’ pack designed
to help establishments act on severe suffering at a
local level.
The web-based resource, Focus on severe suffering’,
is endorsed by the IAT, Laboratory Animal Science
Association (LASA) and the Laboratory Animal
Veterinary Association (LAVA). It sets out the factors
that can contribute towards making a procedure
severe, explains how these can be addressed and links
to other websites and resources for further information
and practical guidance. The Road map pack is linked
to Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB)
tasks and comprises short presentations with notes
and workshop materials that can be used to help
establishments audit their procedures and focus on
refining any that can cause severe suffering.
Severe suffering, ethics, refinement, practical
All levels of severity in animal research and testing are
a concern to the RSPCA and the scientific community
alike but severe suffering is obviously the greatest
concern of all and is a top priority for us. Tackling
severe suffering has been a theme throughout the
RSPCA’s work for some years, particularly since our
project on pain assessment
(which progressed into our
work on welfare assessment)
began in the late 1990s
and the severe suffering project has been ongoing
since 2012.
Ensuring that we are working effectively on the issue
has required a great deal of research, liaison and
collaboration with individuals working in science, the
Home Office and bodies such as the IAT, LASA and
LAVA. The RSPCA is extremely grateful for the support
we have received from all of these people and
organisations which has enabled us to produce
resources that will help to reduce and avoid severe
suffering, as well as getting the issue on the agenda at
scientific meetings in the UK and overseas.
Background to the severe
In addressing severe suffering, we are advocating
parallel approaches that are essentially a very
focussed application of the 3Rs. Ideally, procedures
involving severe suffering would be replaced or avoided
altogether the RSPCA’s principal goal. Wherever this
is not currently possible, it is clearly essential to
reduce the numbers of animals experiencing severe
suffering and to refine procedures so that suffering is
no longer severe or at least less severe. Finding
innovative and practical ways to refine severe
procedures is the main emphasis of the project, as
refinement is a key area of expertise for the RSPCA and
is an immediately achievable ‘R’.
To identify the best way to work on the issue, we
needed information on the actual severity of
procedures the level and nature of harms caused to
animals. Although this is now published in the annual
Home Office Statistics
(Figure 1, Table 1) and this
information is very welcome with respect to
Basic research
Protection of the natural
Figure 1. Procedures reported as ‘severe’ actual
severity by purpose in Great Britain for 2015.
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 89
The RSPCA focus on severe suffering project
transparency about animal use, it is at quite a basic
level and more detail is necessary on the types of
‘models’, tests and procedures that have the potential
to cause severe suffering.
Source: Home Office Statistics, Table 3.2.
Mice are
currently the most likely species to experience severe
suffering; a total of 101,494 experimental procedures
on mice were reported as ‘severe’ actual severity for
Thanks to the high level of constructive liaison that we
have with the scientific community and the regulator
and a great deal of literature searching, we have been
able to produce a list of procedures that are especially
likely to cause severe suffering, which has enabled us
to identify procedures and models that require more
specific guidance and to formulate a more generic
approach to addressing the issue.
Two work streams
The RSPCA’s work to produce guidance on refining
specific procedures or ‘models’ that may cause severe
suffering involves setting up Expert Working Groups to
consider the necessity and justification for animal use,
identify potential harms throughout the animals’ lives
and recommend ways of alleviating these based on the
scientific literature and current good practice. Group
members include animal technologists, vets, scientists
from industry and academia and a Home Office
These Expert Working Groups are a natural follow-on
from the BVAAWF/FRAME/RSPCA/UFAW* Joint Working
Group on Refinement (JWGR), which had a similar
approach and membership and produced its first report
on blood sampling back in 1993. Throughout the 23
years of the JWGR and more recently with the Expert
Working Groups, animal technologists and the IAT have
provided strong support, input and advice, helping us
to provide practical guidance that has had real impact.
So far, we have produced four reports on refining
procedures involving the Experimental Autoimmune
Encephalomyelitis (EAE) mouse model,
convulsions and epilepsy,
and rheumatoid
A fifth Expert Working Group is currently
working on spinal cord injury. Although the RSPCA and
other bodies such as LASA and the NC3Rs are also
addressing these specific procedures, this is a long
term collective project so the RSPCA has created more
generic guidance in the form of our Focus on severe
suffering web pages.
The web pages
The web-based resource, ‘Focus on Severe Suffering’
(rspca.org.uk/severesuffering) was developed with and
is endorsed by the IAT, LASA and LAVA (Figure 2). The
aim is to help relevant staff and committees or groups
within establishments to address severe suffering
locally. It became obvious to us at an early stage that
different audiences required different information, so
we defined three target groups; animal technologists
and Named Veterinary Surgeons (NVSs), researchers
and Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB)
members. Each of these has a separate ‘pathway’ to
follow within the web pages which includes the most
Purpose Number of procedures
Batch potency testing 144,957
Immune system 4,389
LD50 and LC50 3,952
Multisystemic research 2,918
Human infectious disorders 2,869
Oncology 2,060
Cardiovascular blood and 1,928
lymphatic system
Nervous system 1,804
Other type of toxicity or 1,230
safety test
Human cancer 920
Table 1. Top ten purposes of severe experimental
procedures involving mice in Great Britain, 2015.
* British Veterinary Association Animal Welfare Foundation, Fund for
the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments, Universities
Federation for Animal Welfare
Figure 2. The RSPCA Focus on severe suffering web
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 90
The RSPCA focus on severe suffering project
appropriate materials to help them fulfil their roles in
tackling severe suffering, although any visitor can
access each of the pathways.
For each one, the page begins by considering what
makes a procedure ‘severe’, breaking this down into
three main causes:
G some procedures or ‘models’ are more likely to be
G a combination of factors can increase the level of
suffering to severe; i.e. the cumulative severity
effect or mortality may involve severe suffering
We have set out the factors that can contribute towards
making a procedure severe, explaining how these can
be addressed and linking to other websites and
resources for further information and practical
guidance. Further content focuses strongly on welfare
assessment, applying refinements and humane
endpoints, as these are all fundamental to avoiding
and reducing severe suffering. Each of these key areas
is addressed from a different angle for animal
technologists/NVSs, scientists and AWERB members.
For example, information relating to refinement is
presented from a different aspect within each of the
three pathways. The route for animal technologists and
NVSs focuses on useful information sources, the
importance of evaluating refinement to ensure that it is
improving welfare and the value of the AWERB as a
forum for identifying and discussing refinements and
their evaluation throughout the project and at mid- or
end-term reviews. For scientists, the pages begin with
a definition of refinement and explain the legal
requirement to implement this, before setting out the
sources of information. It also acknowledges the
importance of ensuring that refinement is compatible
with the science and highlights how useful advice can
be from both the Named Information Officer (NIO) and
the AWERB when seeking to avoid or reduce severe
suffering. The refinement pages for AWERB members
also begin with a definition, moving on to list which of
the AWERB’s tasks are relevant to addressing severe
suffering and include the essential role of the NIO.
The pathways for welfare assessment and humane
endpoints take a similar approach, in which we have
aimed to present both information and approaches in
such a way that they will be meaningful and relevant to
the different target audiences.
The road map
One of the resources that can be downloaded from the
web pages is a Road map resource pack, which is
intended for use by internal bodies such as the AWERB,
a 3Rs Group or other animal care and use or ethics
committees, although it has also proved useful as a
training aid and for use by individual scientists.
The ‘Road map’ is a series of practical steps that will
enable establishments to identify ways to reduce, avoid
and ultimately end severe suffering, which we
developed following consultation with a number of
research establishments. This approach is strongly
linked to relevant AWERB tasks and uses current
guidance from both the Home Office and the European
Commission. We have taken this approach because we
wanted to help ensure that current guidelines and
requirements were effectively implemented and
applied, without adding additional tasks.
A key principle of the Road map is an ‘audit’ of
procedures to establish how well current refinement
practices are working and to identify any areas where
further refinement can be applied. In order for this to
be achieved it is essential that researchers work with
their animal technologists and named persons
developing a team approach to the alleviation of
suffering. For further information, please see the
‘resources’ box within the severe suffering web pages
We hope that you find the severe suffering resources
useful and we would also like to encourage you to bring
the resources to the attention of your establishments,
for example by making the AWERB or named persons
aware of them. Although they address severe suffering,
much of the content will help with refinement in
The RSPCA regards the Focus on severe suffering
pages and the Road map resource very much as works
in progress, which will need regular updates to ensure
that they are user-friendly, current and feasible. We
plan to update the pages quarterly and would
especially welcome any feedback that you may have, to
help us develop and improve them please email
Thanks to the IAT, LASA, LAVA, Home Office and the
scientific community for their support for this project
and to the IAT for the opportunity to speak at Congress
Hawkins, P. (2002). Recognising and assessing pain,
suffering and distress in laboratory animals: a survey of
current practice in the UK with recommendations.
Laboratory Animals, 36(4), 378-95.
Hawkins, P., Morton, D.B., Burman, O. et al. (2011). A
guide to defining and implementing protocols for the
welfare assessment of laboratory animals: eleventh
report of the BVAAWF/FRAME/RSPCA/UFAW Joint Working
Group on Refinement. Laboratory Animals, 45, 1-13.
Home Office. (2016). Annual Statistics of Scientific
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 91
The RSPCA focus on severe suffering project
Procedures on Living Animals: Great Britain 2015.
London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.
Wolfensohn, S., Hawkins, P., Lilley, E. et al. (2013).
Reducing suffering in experimental autoimmune
encephalomyelitis (EAE). Journal of Pharmacological and
Toxicological Methods, 67(3), 169-176.
Wolfensohn, S., Hawkins, P., Lilley, E. et al. (2013).
Reducing suffering in animal models and procedures
involving seizures, convulsions and epilepsy. Journal of
Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods, 67(1), 9-15.
Lilley, E., Armstrong, R., Clark, N. et al. (2015).
Refinement of animal models of sepsis and septic shock.
Shock, 43(4), 304-316.
Hawkins, P., Armstrong, R., Boden, T. et al. (2015).
Applying refinement to the use of mice and rats in
rheumatoid arthritis research. Inflammopharmacology,
23(4), 131-150.
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 92
Umsetzung eines erfolgreichen, auf positiver
Verstärkung beruhenden Trainingsprotokolls für im
Labor untergebrachte Hunde
Behaviour and Evolution Research Group, Psychology (Verhaltens- und
Entwicklungsforschungs-Gruppe, Psychologie), School of Natural Sciences, University of
Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA
Drug Safety and Metabolism (Arzneimittelsicherheit und Stoffwechsel), AstraZeneca,
Alderley Park, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 4TF
Korrespondenz: laura.hall@stir.ac.uk
Training für Versuchstiere gilt als wichtiger Beitrag zur Verbesserung des Tierwohls und zur Effizienzsteigerung bei der
Durchführung von Tierhaltungs- und vorgeschriebenen Versuchsverfahren. Trotz der anerkannten Notwendigkeit
solchen Trainings von im Labor untergebrachten Hunden und der Verfügbarkeit von Trainingsprotokollen für den Haus-
oder Arbeitshund wurden bisher nur wenige Studien veröffentlicht, die sich mit der Umsetzung von
Trainingsprotokollen beschäftigen. Durch die Senkung der Belastung bei Versuchsverfahren und Tierhaltung kann
eine Verbesserung des Tierwohls erreicht werden. Dieser Artikel umreißt ein auf positiver Verstärkung beruhendes
Protokoll und beschreibt seine Umsetzung in einem arbeitsintensiven pharmazeutischen Produktionsumfeld.
Sechsundsechzig untrainierte, als Bestand gehaltene Hunde erhielten über vier Wochen hinweg einmal wöchentlich
kurzes Training. Daten zum Trainingsverhalten und -fortschritt wurden erfasst. Die Ergebnisse unterstützen die
Durchführung kurzen, strukturierten Trainings als Mittel zur Verbesserung von Tierwohl und Compliance. Mit den
verwendeten Scoring-Tools konnte auch eine geringe Anzahl von Hunden identifiziert werden, die nicht auf Training
ansprachen, womit das Personal die Möglichkeit erhielt, die jeweils für Kurz- bzw. Langzeitstudien optimal geeigneten
Hunde auszuwählen.
Schlagwörter: Im Labor gehaltener Hund, Training, positives Verstärkungstraining, 3R-Prinzip, Refinement, Tierwohl
August 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 93
Paper Summar y Translations
Das RSPCA-Projekt „Focus on Severe Suffering“
(Beurteilung schwerer Belastung durch
Research Animals Department, RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, West Sussex RH13 9RS,
Korrespondenz: penny.hawkins@rspca.org.uk
Ein laufendes Projekt der Abteilung „Versuchstiere“ der britischen Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals (RSPCA) beschäftigt sich schwerpunktmäßig mit der Minimierung der Belastung und der Vermeidung von
„schwerem“ Leiden und genießt große Unterstützung des Institute of Animal Technology (IAT). Dieser kurze Artikel
beschreibt zwei aktuelle diesbezügliche Initiativen. Dabei handelt es sich erstens um eine Online-Informationsquelle
und zweitens um eine „Roadmap“, die Einrichtungen dabei unterstützen sollen, auf lokaler Ebene im Hinblick auf
schwere Belastungen zu handeln.
Die webbasierte Informationsquelle „Focus on Severe Suffering“ wird vom IAT, der Laboratory Animal Science
Association (LASA) und der Laboratory Animal Veterinary Association (LAVA) unterstützt. Sie legt die Faktoren dar, die
Verfahren zu einer schweren Belastung für das Versuchstier machen können, und erläutert deren mögliche
Bewältigung. Sie ist verlinkt mit anderen Websites und Ressourcen mit weiterführenden Informationen und
praktischer Anleitung. Die „Roadmap“ nimmt Bezug auf die Aufgaben des Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body
(Gremium für Tierschutz und ethische Überprüfung, AWERB). Sie enthält Kurzpräsentationen mit Anmerkungen sowie
Workshop-Materialien, die Forschungseinrichtungen zur Auditierung und zur Verbesserung ihrer Verfahren nutzen
können, die potenziell eine schwere Belastung verursachen.
Schlagwörter: Schwere Belastung, Leiden, Ethik, Refinement/Verminderung der Belastung, Roadmap
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 94
August 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
Mise en œuvre d’un protocole de dressage des
chiens de laboratoire basé sur un renforcement
positif efficace
Groupe de recherche sur le comportement et l’évolution, Psychologie, École des Sciences
naturelles, Université de Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA
Innocuité des médicaments et métabolisme, AstraZeneca, Alderley Park, Macclesfield,
Cheshire SK10 4TF
Correspondance: laura.hall@stir.ac.uk
Le dressage est reconnu comme étant important pour les animaux de laboratoire, tant pour améliorer leur bien-être
que pour augmenter l’efficacité de l’élevage et le respect des procédures réglementaires. Bien qu’il soit reconnu
nécessaire de procéder au dressage des chiens de laboratoire et malgré les protocoles de dressage actuellement
en vigueur pour les animaux domestiques et les chiens d’utilité, il n’existe que quelques études publiées décrivant
en détail la mise en œuvre de ces protocoles de dressage. La réduction des contraintes liées aux procédures et à
l’élevage peut améliorer le bien-être des animaux. Cet article présente un protocole basé sur le renforcement positif
et décrit sa mise en œuvre dans un milieu pharmaceutique industriel très actif. Pendant quatre semaines, soixante-
six chiens innocents faisant partie d’un élevage ont été dressés dans le cadre de brèves séances de dressage
organisées une fois par semaine. Des données ont été enregistrées afin d’évaluer leur comportement et les progrès
observés lors du dressage. Les résultats de cette étude soutiennent la mise en œuvre de séances de dressage
rapides structurées afin d’améliorer le bien-être et l’obéissance des animaux. Les outils d’évaluation utilisés ont
également permis d’identifier un petit nombre de chiens qui n’ont pas répondu positivement au dressage, offrant
ainsi au personnel de laboratoire un moyen de sélectionner les chiens les mieux adaptés aux études à court ou à
long terme.
Mots-clés: chien de laboratoire, dressage, dressage basé sur le renforcement positif, 3Rs (Trois R), amélioration,
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 95
Paper Summar y Translations
Étude de la RSPCA sur le projet lié aux graves
Service des animaux de laboratoire, RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, West Sussex
RH13 9RS
*Correspondance: penny.hawkins@rspca.org.uk
Le service des animaux de laboratoire de la RSPCA développe actuellement un projet étudiant les moyens qui
permettent de réduire et d’éviter les « graves » souffrances et bénéficiant du soutien de l’Institute of Animal
Technology (IAT). Ce court article décrit deux initiatives actuellement mises en œuvre : une ressource
informationnelle en ligne et un « programme détaillé » conçu pour aider les établissements à prendre des mesures
au niveau local dans le but de réduire les graves souffrances.
La ressource Web intitulée Focus on severe suffering (Étude sur les graves souffrances) a été approuvée par l’IAT,
l’Association des Sciences de l’Animal de Laboratoire (LASA ou Laboratory Animal Science Association) et
l’Association de Médecins vétérinaires pour les Animaux de Laboratoire (LAVA ou Laboratory Animal Veterinary
Association). Elle présente les facteurs pouvant contribuer à ce qu’une procédure entraîne de graves souffrances,
elle explique comment gérer ces facteurs et elle comprend des liens vers d’autres sites Internet et ressources offrant
des renseignements supplémentaires et des conseils pratiques. Le « programme détaillé » est lié aux missions de
l’Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB) et inclut de courtes présentations contenant des notes, ainsi que
des documents de séminaire pouvant aider les établissements à vérifier leurs procédures et à améliorer celles qui
peuvent entraîner de graves souffrances.
Mots-clés: Graves souffrances, Éthique, Amélioration, Programme détaillé
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 96
August 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
Implementación de un protocolo fructífero para un
entrenamiento con refuerzo positivo en perros de
Grupo de investigación sobre evolución y comportamiento, Psicología, School of Natural
Sciences, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA
Seguridad de medicamentos y metabolismo, AstraZeneca, Alderley Park, Macclesfield,
Cheshire SK10 4TF
Correspondencia: laura.hall@stir.ac.uk
El entrenamiento se considera una actividad importante para los animales de laboratorio, tanto para mejorar su
bienestar como para incrementar la eficiencia a la hora de realizar procedimientos de cría y pautados. A pesar de
reconocer la necesidad de dicho entrenamiento para perros de laboratorio y de existir protocolos de entrenamiento
para el animal de compañía o perro de trabajo, hay pocos estudios publicados al respecto que detallen la
implementación de protocolos de entrenamiento. Un replanteamiento de unos procedimientos y de unas actividades
de cría menos restrictivas puede mejorar el bienestar. Este estudio explica un protocolo basado en el refuerzo
positivo y describe la implementación en un entorno activo del sector farmacéutico. Se entrenó a 66 perros sin
preparación, que se conservaban como reserva, mediante sesiones cortas semanales durante cuatro semanas. Se
fueron registrando los datos sobre el comportamiento y los avances en el entrenamiento. Los resultados respaldan
la implementación de un entrenamiento breve y estructurado para incrementar el bienestar y el cumplimiento. Las
herramientas de evaluación utilizadas también sirvieron para identificar a un pequeño número de perros que no
respondió positivamente al entrenamiento, con lo que el personal pudo asignar los perros que mejor se adaptaban
a los estudios de corto y largo plazo.
Palabras clave: perros de laboratorio, entrenamiento, entrenamiento de refuerzo positivo, 3R, replanteamiento,
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 97
Paper Summar y Translations
El RSPCA se centra en el proyecto de sufrimiento
Research Animals Department, RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, West Sussex RH13 9RS
Correspondencia: penny.hawkins@rspca.org.uk
El Departamento de Investigación de Animales (Research Animals Department) del RSPCA lleva a cabo un proyecto,
centrado en reducir y evitar cualquier sufrimiento "grave", que cuenta con el total apoyo del Institute of Animal
Technology (IAT). Este breve artículo describe dos iniciativas actuales: una fuente de información en línea y una
documentación de “hoja de ruta” diseñada para ayudar a las distintas organizaciones a actuar en casos de
sufrimiento grave a escala local.
La fuente basada en la web, ‘Focus on severe suffering’, está respaldada por el IAT, Laboratory Animal Science
Association (LASA) y la Laboratory Animal Veterinary Association (LAVA). Establece los factores que pueden contribuir
a hacer que un procedimiento pueda ser grave; explica cómo solucionar esta situación y proporciona enlaces a otras
páginas web y fuentes para más información y guías prácticas. La documentación de “hoja de ruta” está vinculada
a las tareas del Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB) y está compuesta de breves presentaciones, notas
y material de talleres, que pueden utilizarse para ayudar a las distintas organizaciones a evaluar sus procedimientos
y a centrarse en replantear cualquier procedimiento que pudiera causar un sufrimiento grave.
Palabras clave: Sufrimiento grave, ética, replanteamiento, hoja de ruta
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 98
August 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
Implementazione di un effettivo protocollo di
addestramento basato sul rinforzo positivo nei cani
da laboratorio
Behaviour and Evolution Research Group, Psychology, School of Natural Sciences, University
of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA
Drug Safety and Metabolism, AstraZeneca, Alderley Park, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 4TF
Corrispondenza: laura.hall@stir.ac.uk
L’addestramento ricopre un ruolo parimenti importante per gli animali da laboratorio, in quanto può risultare in un
benessere migliorato e accrescere l’efficienza delle procedure zootecniche e regolamentate. Nonostante si riconosca
la necessità di tale addestramento per i cani da laboratorio e della disponibilità di protocolli specifici per i cani
domestici o da lavoro, sono pochi gli studi in essere in cui viene approfondita l’applicazione di tali protocolli. Il
raffinamento dell’equilibrio tra procedure e allevamento può migliorare il benessere. Questo articolo delinea un
protocollo basato sul rinforzo positivo e ne descrive l’implementazione in un ambiente farmaceutico molto attivo. In
breve, sessantasei cani naïve tenuti come scorta sono stati ammaestrati una volta a settimana per un periodo di
quattro settimane. Quindi, sono stati rilevati i dati sul comportamento e i progressi conseguiti. I risultati confermano
l’uso di un addestramento breve ma strutturato mirato ad accrescere il benessere e l’obbedienza. Gli strumenti di
valutazione utilizzati hanno identificato, inoltre, un numero limitato di cani meno ricettivi all’addestramento,
consentendo allo staff di scegliere quelli più consoni a studi a breve o lungo termine.
Parole chiave: cane da laboratorio, addestramento, addestramento a rinforzo positivo, 3 R, Raffinamento, benessere
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 99
Paper Summar y Translations
Focus della RSPCA sulla grave sofferenza
Research Animals Department, RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, West Sussex RH13 9RS,
Regno Unito
Corrispondenza: penny.hawkins@rspca.org.uk
Il Research Animals Department della RSPCA sta conducendo un progetto incentrato sulla riduzione e l’eliminazione
di sofferenze ‘gravi’, che ha ricevuto ampio sostegno dall’Institute of Animal Technology (IAT). Questo breve articolo
descrive due iniziative attualmente in corso: una risorsa informativa online e una ‘roadmap’ elaborata per aiutare le
istituzioni ad agire sul problema della sofferenza grave a livello locale.
La risorsa presente sul web, ‘Focus on severe suffering’, è riconosciuta dall’IAT, dalla LASA (Laboratory Animal
Science Association) e dalla LAVA (Laboratory Animal Veterinary Association). Delinea i fattori che possono contribuire
all’inasprimento della sofferenza in una procedura, spiegando come affrontarli e fornendo link ad altri siti web e
risorse che mettono a disposizione ulteriori informazioni e guide pratiche. La tabella di marcia o ‘roadmap’ è
associata alle mansioni dell’Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB) e racchiude brevi presentazioni
corredate di note, nonché materiale per workshop destinato alle istituzioni, che possono utilizzarlo per sottoporre ad
esame le loro procedure e concentrarsi sul miglioramento di quelle che potrebbero causare gravi sofferenze.
Parole chiave: Grave sofferenza, Etica, Raffinamento, Roadmap
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 100
Haven’t the time to write a paper but want to get something published? Then read on!
This section offers readers the opportunity to submit informal 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.
The evening of the sudden heart attack
a patient’s personal account of how the
skill of doctors and medical research saved
his life!
‘I will never forget the evening of the 4th
October 2010, when I clinically died twice’
Centre for Transplant & Renal Research, Westmead Institute for Medical Research,
Westmead, NSW 2145 Australia
Correspondence: gary.martinic@sydney.edu.au
It was approximately 7pm on the 4th October 2010 and
I was driving home with my two daughters from a karate
training session that we had just completed. The dojo
was only a short 15 minute drive from home. Although I
had been regularly training in Karate for nearly 15 years
prior, this particular training session was my first night
back into the sport after a 3-4 year break (though I had
attended a few intermittent training sessions in
between). During the more than 1.5 hours of quite
intense training on that night, I have to admit that, as a
‘black belt’, I was pushing myself to train at the same
level of intensity as my colleagues, who had been
training regularly. At various stages of this training, I felt
that it was getting beyond my capabilities but I did not
feel any discomfort.
More than halfway into the training and afterwards, I
had to pause as I felt tired and found myself out of
breath. I did manage to complete the training session
but did not feel well afterwards. Within 5 minutes of the
drive home, I had to pull into a side street and I started
to vomit violently which was accompanied by profuse
sweating and the onset of strong chest pain. Once I
had vomited I felt a little better and continued driving.
After we arrived home, I quickly parked the car in our
driveway and explained to my wife, who was waiting at
the door that I have been feeling very, very ill and that
I just needed to sit in our terrace area for a few
minutes, to see if whatever I was feeling was going to
settle down. I managed to sit for no more than a few
minutes when I started to feel crushing, central chest
August 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 101
pain which felt ‘like an elephant was sitting on my
chest’. Immediately recognising these symptoms, I
grabbed the phone and called an ambulance describing
my symptoms to the person on the other side of the
Once done, I walked calmly to the room where my wife
was and explained to her that I WAS having a heart
attack and that I’ve called an ambulance already and it
was on its way. My wife, in disbelief, said that it was
unlikely to be a heart attack and that it was probably
only ‘over-exertion’, as she knew that I had a habit of
training at quite an intense level. I explained to her that
what I was feeling was ‘real’ and when she saw that I
was serious she quickly asked what she could do and
got our car ready to follow the ambulance to our local
hospital. I also told my wife to let my daughters know
that everything would be alright and that I just needed
a ‘check-up’. Luckily for me, it was the early evening
with little traffic on the roads and the ambulance
showed up in less than 10 minutes. Once they arrived,
they asked me what I was feeling and I explained to
them that I felt that I was having a heart attack. Even
the ambulance officers told me that it was probably
unlikely due to my age (45) and that I looked young and
fit but they did still take me into the ambulance and
administered an injection of morphine just in case, as
we hurriedly made our way to Liverpool Hospital
emergency ward. It’s comical to note that in all of this
time I was still dressed in my karate outfit!
What happened in emergency triage
As I arrived into the emergency room, I was lying on an
examination table with my wife standing beside me.
The nurse and the attending doctor asked me what I
was feeling and I started to explain my symptoms, just
as I did, I blacked out at that point. As I found out later,
this was my first heart attack (or in medical terms,
Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) caused by insufficient
blood flow to my heart due to an artery blockage.
Apparently at this point my heart stopped, so the
medical staff immediately jolted me with a 200 Joule
(J) electric shock using a transducer and then rushed
me into the Cardiac Catheter Laboratory (Cath Lab).
Upon arriving in the Cath Lab, I found myself lying on
the examination table semi-conscious and I could hear
and see one doctor working on my right femoral artery
(and being supervised by another more senior doctor
on the other side of the room) while a male nurse was
standing next to the stretcher to my left. After being
here for only a few short minutes, I heard the junior
doctor say to the senior one, ‘this one’s not working’
(referring to the long balloon catheter he had inserted
into my femoral artery) to which the senior doctor
replied, ‘try the larger size’. Shortly after this, I
apparently blacked out again (yes, my heart stopped
working again) but not completely, as I was still
conscious enough to know what was generally going on
around me. Before I knew it, I felt this sudden type of
electrical shock to my chest, it was the 200J electric
transducer being used again! But this time I certainly
felt it! Let no one tell you differently, as someone that
has experienced this, I can tell you that if you receive
this shock when you are semi-conscious, it is my
opinion, ‘one of the scariest things on earth’ to
experience. The analogy is similar to a ‘shotgun blast
to the chest at point-blank range’. However, the irony of
this is that without the transducer being used, I would
not be alive today.
Clinical presentation and follow-up
This section explains the course of the medical
treatment that I received. While there is some medical
terminology used, I have tried to present much of the
following in plain English language as much as was
possible at the time.
A 45 year old male patient presented to the rooms at
20:00 hrs on the 4/10/10 with onset of central
crushing chest pain with associated diaphoresis
(sweating) and vomiting. He was alert and orientated
with Blood Pressure (BP) of 110/60 and Heart Rate
(HR) at 80 beats per minute (bpm). Heparin infusion
was commenced at 21.10 hrs. Patient experienced a
Ventricular Fibrillation arrest at approximately 21:20
hrs, which was reverted with one 200J shock. He was
transferred to the Cardiac Cath Lab at 21:50 hrs. The
right posterolateral coronary artery was stented with
Bare Metal Stent (BMS) and an Intra-aortic Balloon
Pump was inserted during the procedure as BP was
low. Post-procedure the patient remained well with no
further chest pain. He was commenced on several
medications including; Aspirin 100mg daily, Clopidogrel
75mg daily, Crestor 10mg daily and Ramipril 1.25mg
daily and was referred for outpatient cardiac
rehabilitation. He was discharged well on 9/10/10 to
follow up with his cardiologist 2-4 weeks later. Patient
also had a Echocardiograph.
Intra-aortic Balloon Pump is a mechanical circulatory
assist device that increases myocardial oxygen
perfusion while at the same time increases cardiac
output. It increases cardiac output and increases
coronary blood flow and therefore myocardial oxygen
delivery (Source: Internet)
Clinical intervention details
Reason for admission: Chest pain.
Principal Diagnosis: Inferior STEMI complicated by VF
Additional Diagnoses/Complications: PmHx; smoker,
denies IHD, DM, HTN Indication: acute myocardial
infarction primary.
Procedure: coronary artery study going onto
percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTCA).
Current medications: nil.
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 102
Anaesthetic: Lignocaine 10ml.
Procedural medications: Heparin sodium 4500 U.
Coronary artery study going onto PTCA was performed
percutaneously, using the right femoral artery under
local anaesthesia. The screening time was 10.4 min
and 150 ml of lopromide was used. The procedure was
complicated by ventricular tachycardia.
Haemodynamics: BSA: sq.m. Rhythm: Sinus rhythm
Aorta (s/d/m) 90/59/74 (pressures in mm Hg).
Angioplasty: 1 vessel attempted. Right posterolateral-
prox. Third: 15mm long type Bl lesion.
Equipment: Z2 JR 4.0 6F, Route wire, Export Aspiration
Cather AP 6 Fr, NC Sprinter 3.0 mm/12 mm, Micro-
Driver 2.75/18 mm.
Dilatation: 4 inflations were used with a maximum
pressure of 12 Atm for a maximum of 18 sec. No
dissection occurred. The lesion was stented. ST
segment changes occurred in the inferior & posterior
Outcome: Stenosis pre: 95%, post: 0%. The procedure
was successful.
Coronary angiography: the coronary anatomy was right
Artery discreetly diseased left main: origin 40%
Discreetly diseased LAD: proximal third 30%.
Normal LCx diffusely diseased RCA: proximal third 30%
Discreetly diseased R postero/ateral: proximal third
95% feasible; graftable.
Comments: bare metal stent. IABP inserted.
Conclusions: Coronary artery disease; Successful
PTCA Recommendation: Angioplasty.
Physical recovery and progress
Following my AMI (Figure 1) my condition was
successfully treated and I was left to recover in hospital
for 6 days. During this time, I met my cardiologist, Dr
Con Arronis, who followed up my condition a number of
times while a barrage of electrocardiographs (Figure 2)
medical reports (Figure 3) and pathology tests were
conducted, and would continue to be. The initial ECG
showed infero-lateral ST elevation (lead Il, Ill and aVF
with ventricular fibrillation with reciprocal changes aVL
and VI-3 indicates transmural ischemia in the right
Figure 1. Coronary angiogram shows a narrowing
(black arrow) in right posterolateral coronary artery.
Figure 2. An example of one of my electrocardiographs.
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 103
coronary artery region (ST elevations have been circled
on the ECG; see Figure 2). Consecutive pathology
showed my results to be within normal ranges for most
parameters, however apart from my ‘troublesome’
postolateral coronary artery, there were two other
arteries that were 40% and 30% occluded respectively
hence my cardiologist commenced statin therapy and a
few other drugs. I stayed on these drugs for the first 12
months, with the exception of Ramipril (125mg), which
made me very nauseous and so was discontinued.
Most people after an MI usually take 2-3 months to
completely recover before returning to work. I only took
6 weeks. I also did not take up the offer of cardiac
rehabilitation as I felt I did not need it. I was
determined to recover ASAP and the first positive thing
from the whole experience (if ever an MI can be
‘positive’) was that I stopped smoking.
In the end, I had an inferior infarct on the 4th Oct. 2010.
This relates to plaque rupture in the context of
vulnerable plaque and the above risk factors for
ischaemic heart disease (IHD). I was fully treated for
secondary prevention and have been well since that
time. According to my cardiologist report of the 10th
Mar 2011, my Ml was in fact undetectable on
transthoracic echocardiography and I had received a
stent to the culprit artery. The rest of my CAD disease
was minimal and my lipid profile was excellent. Hence,
if I adhered to the lifestyle changes suggested, i.e. quit
smoking, exercise regularly, eat sensibly, etc., and if I
Date: 1/12/2010 Address:
Lab. number: 31513 Sex: M
Rhythm: Sinus rhythm Age: 45
Image quality: good DOB:
Tape: DLP38-39/ Referrer: Doc
Indication: Post PTCA
M mode dimensions
Aortic root 29 mm (<38) RV diastole 23 mm (<30)
AV excursion 22 mm (>10) LV septum 9 mm (<12)
Left atrium 37 mm (<40) LV posterior wall 9 mm (<12)
MV EF slope mm/sec (>70) LV diastole 56 mm (35-56)
MV ESS mm (<7) LV systole 39 mm (20-40)
MV excursion mm (>20) LV fract short 30% (28-38)
M mode, 2D and Doppler
Normal left ventricular size and function
Normal right ventricular size and function
Normal left atrium
Normal right atrium
No pericardial effusion
Aortic valve: Morphologically normal
Doppler mapping: No regurgitation
Mitral valve: Thickened with mobile leaflets
Doppler mapping: Trivial regurgitation
LV diastolic parameters:
E/A velocity radio: 0.7
Normal pulmonary valve
Tricuspid valve: Morphologically normal
Doppler mapping: No regurgitation
1. Normal left ventricular size and systolic function
2. No significant valvular abnormalities
Cardiac sonographer: Final report Reporter:
Figure 3.
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 104
maintained my lipid profile and blood pressure to within
the target range prescribed by my cardiologist, then a
recurrence of CAD was likely to remain low. I had already
returned to my normal duties and to my previous level
of exercise gradually. I was also prescribed Fenofibrate
40mg early on for a borderline/low HDL level (although
my LDL profile at 1.7 mmol/L was good), which my
cardiologist felt would be good to take as a target for
secondary prevention but in the end I have to confess
that I never really ended up picking up this prescription,
mostly because I did not want to be taking ‘too many
different medications.
Results on ongoing lipid chemistry
Results are presented in Table 1 covering the period
September 2010 to August 2012, where lipid
chemistry was being routinely monitored over a 6-
month period and Table 2 covering the period April
2013 to August 2015, where lipid chemistry was being
routinely monitored over this period. As can be seen
from Table 1, my initial total cholesterol dated Sept
2010 was elevated at 5.5 mmoI/L (though not
excessively high). This was reduced quickly to 3.1
mmol/L by November 2010 due to the commencement
of statin therapy and it was generally maintained over
the period of the next nine months. My total cholesterol
reading increased to 4.0 mmoI/L in March 2012
though and generally stayed at that level over the next
12-13 months to April 2013. From June 2014 my total
cholesterol level dropped to 2.8mmoI/L and at the last
testing in Aug 2015 the results showed that it had
remained relatively stable at that level, albeit
increasing slightly to 2.9 mmoI/L. (Note: the acronym
‘N/T’ in the tables denotes a sample that was ‘not
Both tables also show that Low Density Lipoprotein
(LDL; or the ‘bad cholesterol’) over the period of five
years in which this parameter was tested, showed a
‘rollercoaster’ effect where LDL was initially recorded
within normal range with a reading or 1.7 mmol/L
between 2010 to 2011 but then increased to 2.6
mmol/L in 2012, staying at this same level at the
beginning of 2013 before dropping significantly in June
2014. It then increased again slightly in August 2015.
By comparison, High Density Lipoprotein (HDL; or the
‘good cholesterol’) generally remained quite stable
varying from 0.9 mmol/L (from 2010), peaking slightly
Lipid 27 Sept 10 23 Nov 10 15 Feb 11 15 Aug 11 14 Mar 12 20 Aug 12
Total cholestrol 5.1 3.1 3.1 3.3 4.0 4.1
LDL N/T 1.7 1.7 1.7 N/T 2.6
HDL N/T 0.9 0.9 0.9 N/T 1.0
Triglycerides 2.2 1.2 1.2 1.29 1.12 1.15
Cholestrol/HDL N/T 3.4 3.4 3.3 N/T 4.1
Table 1. A summary of half-yearly lipid chemistry results September 2010 August 2012.
Lipid 15 Apr 13 17 Jun 14 4 Aug 15
Total cholestrol 4.1 2.8 2.9
LDL 2.6 1.2 1.4
HDL 1.0 0.93 0.93
Triglycerides 1.02 1.36 1.27
Cholestrol/HDL ratio 4.1 3.0 3.1
Table 2. A summary of annual lipid chemistry results April 2013 August 2015.
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 105
higher at 1.0 mmol/L between 2012 and early 2013
before returning to their almost previous level of 0.93
mmoI/L as of August 2015. My triglyceride profile
initially showed a level of 2.2 mmoI/L in September
2010 which was slightly above normal range (< 2.00
mmoI/L) however this parameter dropped to 1.2
mmoI/L, almost half of the previous level when tested
in November 2010 (after commencement of statin
therapy) and this level was essentially maintained over
the next three years rising to its highest reading of 1.36
mmol/L in June 2014 before falling to 1.27 mmoI/L in
August 2015, almost a year later. My cholesterol to
HDL Ratio profile initially showed a level of 3.4 mmoI/L
in November 2010 which remained stable till August
2012 when it rose to 4.1 mmol/L, remaining at that
level until June 2014 when it fell to 3.0 mmol/L, and
essentially staying stable at 3.1mmol/L in August
2015. All of these pathology results reflect that fact
that medical management of my condition by my
cardiologist was essentially achieving its target aims. It
will be interesting to see how my lipids fare in the next
round of pathology testing which is scheduled for
August 2016. Despite that fact that the above
pathology results tend to fall within normal ranges for
all parameters tested, it needs to be pointed out that I
initially commenced taking
‘Crestor’ statin therapy on 10mg and continued at this
dose rate for the first 12 months. This was increased
to 20mg in the 2011 and continued until 2012, before
my dose rate was again increased to 40mg
approximately at the beginning of 2013. I have
remained on this dose rate until the present day.
The damage that smoking nicotine
does to your heart
Even though I was not a heavy smoker per se, I was a
regular ‘social’ smoker and had been for over 25 years
as I enjoyed it, particularly together with an alcoholic
drink and often in a social gathering of friends or a
night ‘out on the town’. Knowing that smoking was bad
for me, I had tried many times to give up without
sustained success. However, after my MI, I quickly (and
completely) gave up smoking ‘cold turkey’. Of course I
knew that smoking was damaging to one’s health but I
did not know just how damaging it was from a
‘mechanism of action’ point of view. My cardiologist
explained to me that after years of smoking a plaque
becomes ‘brittle’ and small fragments of it (similarly as
with a blood clot) can break off from the main diseased
plaque. When this happens the fragments (or clots)
travel in the blood circulation and where they lodge
becomes a potentially Ife-threatening problem. For
example, if the plague fragment lodges in the blood
vessels of the heart, this often leads to an MI and if it
lodges in the blood vessels inside the head, this often
leads to a stroke (see Figure 4).
Figure 4. A series of images which show how atherosclerosis essentially develops in three stages. The first image
shows a normal artery. The second image shows an artery with significant damage and a significant degree of blood
flow restriction. Blood products and connective tissue continue to build up and begin to bulge into the artery
channel. In the third image all three layers of the artery wall are affected, and some of the area has begun to calcify,
forming a mass of dead tissue, which when either a blood clot, or a fragment of travelling ruptured plaque almost
completely blocks off the artery channel leading to death of tissue. (Source: Heart Research Institute, Sydney,
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 106
What do the statistics say about
heart disease in Australia and in
the UK?
According to figures provided by the Heart Research
Institute, based in Sydney, Australia (and closely
affiliated with the Heart Foundation of Australia) around
55,000 Australians suffer an Ml annually and 9,000
Australians die of the same annually. It is estimated
that 90% of Australians have one modifiable risk factor
for heart disease. Poor diet, low physical activity,
smoking, drinking excess alcohol, carrying excess
weight and high blood pressure all contribute to
cardiovascular disease the leading cause of death in
Australia. From a prevention point of view, one can
improve one’s heart health by quitting smoking,
drinking less and excercising regularly. Smokers are
about 4 times more likely to die from heart disease
than non-smokers and passive-smoking is linked to an
increased risk of dying from heart disease. Australian
government health guidelines recommend that healthy
men and women drink no more than two standard
drinks of alcohol on any day, that they eat 375g of
vegetables and 300g of fruit per day, and that they do
2.5 hrs of exercise each week. Comparatively, based
on National Health Service information
more than
73,000 deaths occur from Ml annually and about 1 in
6 men and 1 in 10 women die from Coronary Heart
Disease (CHD). There are an estimated 2.3 million
people living with CHD and around 2 million people
affected by angina pectoris (the most common
symptom of CHD).
Advances in medical research and
the increased skill-sets of doctors
In comparison to earlier times in our history, we have
much to be thankful for regards the advanced state of
medicine today. Although I was fortunate that good
timing played a factor regarding how quickly emergency
medical help arrived for me, I am certain that had I
suffered this AMI say 50 years ago, I would more than
likely have died. I was also fortunate in that the small
medical team of doctors, nurses and para-medics who
had attended to my ‘medical emergency’ were highly
competent, skilled and experienced in the medical
procedures that they routinely performed, such as the
PTCA that I had performed on me. The fact that this life-
saving medical technique was available, is thanks to
medical research.
Medical research over many decades and more than
any other factor, has been responsible for the high level
of medical care that we receive today. As someone who
has worked in the field of medical research ever since
I left school, firstly as a technician, then later as a
scientist and laboratory administrator, it is re-assuring
and satisfying to know that the work we do in the labs
is, as I found, really life-saving and sometimes even
life-changing, as it was for me. It is interesting how life
works sometimes. The irony of it all was that I had
previously worked at the Heart Research Institute, one
of the leading medical research institutes in the
country, which was solely dedicated to researching
heart disease. I even obtained my higher degree (MSc
Hons) in the medical area of atherosclerosis research
which was the very subject of all my research
investigations in the lab, however little did I know at the
time that this insidious disease was to potentially
threaten my life ‘down the track’.
With regards to life saving cardiovascular medical
techniques, it was Andreas Gruntzig
in 1977, who first
performed the PTCA or put simply, dilatation of a
stenotic artery, which is in current times a commonly
used non-surgical method for the treatment of arteries
obstructed by atherosclerotic plaques. Perhaps
ironically again, I have carried out research work myself
on the testing of various surgical techniques, one of
them describing the aortic balloon injury
(which was published in this same journal in 2004) for
the purposes of surgical refinement and potential
future application in treating dangerous atherosclerotic
The views of other patients about
their heart attack
In doing this research, I quickly became interested in
what other survivors of a life threatening heart attack
felt about their experiences. I began to searching out
articles on their experiences, firstly, to see if their
physical and psychological experiences were similar to
mine, and secondly, to understand how they now felt
about their lives post-event? I found that the physical
symptoms which most described were similar to mine,
for example, feeling suddenly very unwell, hot and
sweaty and overwhelmed by incredible and agonising
pain which continued to get worse.
Despite a variation
of causes which lead to their heart attacks, for
example, some patients suffered a tear in their artery
wall, others suffered an atherosclerotic plaque rupture
and yet others had a spontaneous coronary artery
dissection (a very rare medical condition), all however
described a generally similar symptom picture.
But how were they now living day-to-day and what were
their emotional and psychological views on their illness
post-event? More specifically, what were their attitudes
and beliefs now about their cardiovascular disease?
Again, I found similarities in the views of most patients
towards their disease, in that immediately following the
heart attack most felt scared about what they had been
through and, about the possibility of suffering another
one which may have had the potential to kill them. They
were also grieving the loss of their health saying that it
was a huge knock to their confidence.
However, within
a few short months post-event, many patients
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 107
expressed surprisingly positive attitudes about their
day-to-day lives. Some examples include the inspiring
story of the 22 year old medical student from Austin,
Texas who suffered a life threatening heart attack while
cycling, who survived and then in April 2015 had
participated in athletic research which attempted to
answer the question of how far young, athletic heart
attack survivors could push their own physical
endurance limits on high-intensity stationary bike
Another example was the 51 year old man,
who being neither young at the time of his heart attack
now remotely athletic, did manage to lose 70 pounds
and train well enough to complete a full marathon on
the 26th anniversary of his heart attack.
example was that of a gentleman who at the age of 39
years had triple bypass surgery due to severe coronary
artery blockages. At the time he weighed 195 pounds,
and confessed to minimal physical activity, a bad diet
and long working hours. After his major surgery he
decided to turn his life around. He began to eat better
and rest more and took up cycling four times per week.
Within a short period he dropped in weight to 145
pounds, as he spent his weekends cycling between 80-
145 kilometres. As a result, his cholesterol levels
dropped significantly, his energy levels and general
‘zest for life’ have massively improved. He concluded
that he felt better now at 46 years of age, than he did
at 39.
There are many such similar examples where Ml
survivors had positively ‘taken their lives back’.
The above examples should hopefully inspire those that
may have a fear of recurrent attacks that they can
completely recover and prove that it is possible for
heart attack survivors to return to a highly physical and
active lifestyle, if they were willing to take responsibility
for their own health.
Previous work by behavioural
researchers has shown that health and illness-related
cognitions can be segmented into those that; concern
the condition itself, concern the treatments for the
condition and those that concern the patients
attempts to manage or resolve their illness (and the
circumstances it provokes).
Their conclusions is that
the behaviours of individuals are affected by the
attitudes and beliefs they hold. If individuals think
something is appropriate for them they may do it; it not,
they don’t.
Personal reflections
While I have never been a regular church-goer, I have
always believed in ‘God’. This whole experience has
taught me that life is very ‘fragile’ and that you will never
really know ‘when your number is up’ until you face that
very moment and it is interesting how lots of emotions
and sad feelings go through your head immediately post-
event. For example, following an Ml I found myself
overwhelmed by the sad thoughts about those closest
to me, my children, my wife and my other family
members and how I came so close to never seeing any
of them again and what I should have said to them but
did not get time to. I also experienced thoughts like,
“why have I suffered this life threatening disease so
young?” And, “I must not have much time left, as it is
only a matter of time before my next Ml?”. Some cardiac
patients can actually develop depression after the event
(according to nursing and cardiac rehabilitation staff).
Other common thoughts that I had early on were, “why
am I here?, why am I sharing this cardiac ward with all
these ‘old people’?”. “At 45 years of age I am much too
young to be here, I should not be here yet.” Of course,
most people that experience a severe Ml (and that
survive it) may express different thoughts, feelings and
emotions, these are just mine.
Where to from here?
At the time of writing this article for ATW, I noted that
more than five years had passed since my MI and I am
more than happy to report that I am still feeling ‘fighting
fit as I continue to work at my full time medical research
job, my secondary appointment as an Officer and
instructor in the Australian Air Force Cadets, to continue
teaching young and underprivileged children the sport of
Karate, to write (something I have always enjoyed doing)
and most importantly of course, to spend quality time
with my family. Despite the feelings I felt immediately
post-event (and for quite a few months afterwards), I
have learned that the fact that one has suffered a severe
MI does not necessarily mean that one is ‘doomed’ to
suffer another one automatically. Over time, I have
gradually come to the realisation that it is really all about
how you look after yourself post-event, that can strongly
influence the chances of a recurrence. It is maintaining
sensible lifestyle choices, keeping fit, keeping stress to
a minimum, spending more time doing the things that
are important to you (ie. more time with family, and
pursuing your interests ‘which you never made time for
previously’), and of course keeping a positive attitude
and a ‘healthy outlook on life’. I have no idea how much
‘time I have left’, not too many people generally do but I
remain grateful for every day that I get and believe that
if I continue on the sensible path of following my
cardiologist’s lifestyle advice and continue to think
positively, I should still have a few years left to enjoy on
this earth! However, having strong faith, I also like to
believe that ‘the Almighty’ was looking over me that very
night as well.
I would sincerely like to thank the team of Doctors,
Nurses and Paramedics from the Emergency
Department of Liverpool Hospital who provided me with
excellent acute care. I would particularly like to express
my deepest gratitude to Dr K. Kadappu and Dr R.
Rajaratnam of the Liverpool Hospital Cardiac
Catheterisation Laboratory, who performed the
successful cardiac intervention which saved my life on
the evening of the 4th October 2010.
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 108
I would also like to sincerely thank my cardiologist, Dr.
for his excellent ongoing clinical care and advice that
he has provided over the last six years. I also express
my appreciation to him for his interpretation of these
clinical findings, as well as his guidance and support in
the writing of this article, which will I hope, educate
other sufferers of this insidious disease and give them
renewed hope that they can completely recover and
once again lead a fit and active lifestyle, provided they
also take some measure of responsibility for their own
health. I wish all of the medical staff above continued
success, health, happiness and prosperity, for the
tremendous work they do on a day-to-day basis.
Heart Research Institute website:
see http://www.hri.org.au/about-heart-disease/prevention
accessed 09 Feb 2016
National Health Service (UK) website:
see http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Coronary-heart-disease/
Pages/lntroduction.aspx accessed 09 Feb 2016
Gruntzig, A. (1976). Percutaneous dilatation of
experimental coronary artery stenosis description of a
new catheter system. Klin Wochenschr (German), June 1:
54 (11): pp. 543-5
Martinic, G. (2004). Surgical methodology for the
procedure of Aortic Balloon Injury in rabbits (Oryctolagus
cuniculus) a technical guide for untrained research
workers. Animal Technology & Welfare, April issue, pp. 21-
Bee, S. (2013). How to get your life back after a heart
attack at age 36: Sally Bee knows how tough it is to battle
long-term illness. Her insights can help you get the best
treatment. Daily Mail Australia, July 2nd edition.
American Heart Association News (2015). Young heart
attack survivor pushes limits in new research. American
Heart Association, April 3rd edition.
Thompson, J. (2015). Uncategorized Blogs. American
Heart Association, April 3rd.
Papanikolaou, G. (2015). Uncategorized Blogs. American
Heart Association, April 7th.
Hirani, S.P. and Stanton P. Newman (2005). Patient’s
beliefs about their cardiovascular disease. Hear t Journal,
Vol. 91 (9): pp. 1235-1239.
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 109
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 110
August 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
Preparing a paper presentation for
5 South Parade, Summertown, Oxford OX2 7JL
Correspondence: congress@iat.org.uk
Having completed your research work you may wish to
present it to colleagues within the industry. Presenting
a paper at the IAT Congress may seem daunting but it
is good experience and may help your career path.
When presenting, you have a limited time in which to
get your ideas across. Your aim is to ensure your work
is understood, giving the audience a clear message to
take away and think about. So deciding on the content
of your presentation, how you want to deliver it and its
visual representation, all need careful consideration.
Planning is the secret of success. This applies to most
things and certainly to preparing a paper. It is
important to start with clear objectives, know what you
want to achieve and what you are trying to convey. The
following sections discuss the major areas you should
consider when preparing your presentation.
Your audience
The IAT Congress is open to everyone from Trainee
Animal Technicians to Senior Facility Directors, Trade
Representatives and Research Workers. This means
that your audience will have a broad range of
experiences and knowledge. This will have an impact
on how you structure your presentation and its content.
Make your paper too technical and Trainee Animal
Technicians will fall asleep, make it too basic and the
more knowledgeable audience member will switch off.
A good introduction and background, together with a
good summary will ensure that you cater for everyone.
The technical content should then only form perhaps
30% of the paper. When preparing an introduction try to
make it imaginative and succinct, as this will help to
engage your audience.
Always allow time for a summary. This is an important
part of your presentation because although the
audience’s attention may wander during the main body
of the seminar the 30% bit when they hear the
words “Finally, in summary…” their attention will be
drawn back to you.
The content of your presentation will be discipline
dependent. Some guidelines on the standard structure
of a scientific based project are listed below. You do not
have to adhere to these headings but they are listed
here in a logical order:
1. Introduction
State why you did the work.
2. Materials and methods
State how you did the work and describe
experimental procedures used.
3. Results
Outline what you discovered.
4. Discussion
Discuss whether your results are what you
expected; do they agree or disagree with those of
5. Conclusions
Summarise the key points of your presentation.
6. Future work
What next? Outline your plans for the follow up to
this work or any new projects you are considering.
7. Acknowledgements
Briefly acknowledge your supervisor and anyone
who may have helped you with your work.
8. Questions
It is common for the Chair of the session to invite
questions from the audience at the end of your
Visual aids
There are many factors that contribute to a good
presentation and visual aids are definitely one.
However, although good slides do not necessarily make
a good presentation, bad slides can ruin one.
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 111
Microsoft PowerPoint, 35mm slides and video clips can
be used for presentations at Congress. It is up to you
to decide which method is best for your purposes.
Please note that Overhead Projectors (OHP) are not an
option at IAT Congress.
It is good practice to keep to the time you are allocated
for your presentation.
Here are some tips to help you achieve this:
Any topic can be presented in any amount of time.
It’s better to narrow down rather than widen the
scope of your talk.
As a general rule use a maximum of one slide per
This also depends on the slide content and the
length of the talk 30 slides in 30 minutes, for
example, is not recommended.
Allow more time for text slides than for images
If images are used you need to allow time to explain
the image if it is not clear.
When presenting graphs, allow time to explain what
the x-axis and y-axis are, before describing the
details of the result.
If your talk is too long, redesign it:
decide what can be removed and what impact
the remaining content will have
condense two slides into one, without
compromising their legibility
don’t use too many slides as you will find
yourself flashing through them during the
Practising your presentation
Giving yourself the opportunity to run through your
presentation beforehand is an essential part of your
preparation. It can highlight omissions or mistakes and
also increase your confidence when you come to
present on the day.
Rehearsing in front of colleagues or friends is
particularly useful for your first few presentations, until
you start to gain more confidence. You can either run
through your talk as you would on the day or ask them
to interrupt with tips as you go along.
Thinking through your talk is not sufficient. You need to
practise so you can both duplicate the stress felt in
front of an audience and judge how long your
presentation will be. As you stand in front of an
audience, you will find you talk more quickly, so the
presentation might be shorter than you expect. Speak
loudly and clearly this will prevent you from speaking
too fast if you are nervous.
Learn the order of your slides as this will prevent you
from looking surprised as the next slide is displayed.
Tips for the preparation of your slides
Regardless of the methods you use to produce and
project your slides, the key thing is to make them
as legible as possible to everyone in the
auditorium. Use the following guidelines when
producing your presentation:
G Text
Do not use full sentences… but Do not over
abbreviate either.
Use a maximum of six words in the title,
seven lines of text per slide and seven
words across the slide.
Do not use too many colours or a
complicated background.
G Tables
Use no more than 4 columns and no more
than 7 rows.
In general, most tables produced for
journals should be redesigned and
simplified for use in a presentation.
G Graphs and Charts
Use horizontal labels on graphs, even for
the y-axis.
Minimise the number of tick marks and
number labels.
All legends, captions and axis labels should
have an adequate font size. Use the 1/50th
Rule for the minimum font size i.e. if the
long axis of the graph is 20cm when printed,
the smallest letter should be 4mm (or 20 pt).
If there are multiple lines on a graph, ensure
they are clearly labelled and easily
Do not use 3D if 2D will do.
Histograms or pie charts are better than
Use colour to highlight parts of a complex
G Animation and Illustrations in PowerPoint
Animation can be useful for emphasis.
Do not use it too much as this can be
distracting and confusing.
G Duplicate material
If you need to refer to the same slide more
than once, in different contexts throughout
your presentation, it is better to duplicate
the material. This will prevent you from
having to search through the slides you
have already shown.
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 112
Practise answering questions from your colleagues; think
in advance about the questions you may get asked.
A rehearsal on your own in the room where you are
going to give your presentation is also useful. It helps
you to familiarise yourself with the acoustics and
technical aspects ahead of time. During the rehearsal
check your slides for timing, legibility and correct order
and orientation. Ask the Congress Committee member
responsible for presentations if you would like to
rehearse before your big day. Audio Visual Technicians
will also be on hand to help you with your slides or your
PowerPoint presentation.
Presenting your paper
There is a lot to think about when presenting,
particularly remembering what you are going to say at
a time when you will be feeling nervous. Here are a few
things to consider to ensure that the presentation runs
as smoothly as possible.
Controlling nerves
Even the most experienced presenters get nervous
before talking to conference audiences, so you are
not alone.
Being nervous is a natural response and one that
actually works to improve performance.
It is simply a part of delivering a good presentation
and can help to keep you on your toes.
Try not to worry too much about nerves you may feel
before you start.
The benefits of being well prepared and well
practised cannot be underestimated and will help
reduce nerves on the day.
Use positive self-talk.
Take a deep breath before you start and
concentrate on the key message that you want your
audience to take away.
Some people find that memorising their opening
sentence is a useful way to get the talk started.
Think about your body language: if you have a
tendency to gesticulate, think about what you are
going to do with your hands.
Try not to panic, speak slowly, keeping your head up.
Dress appropriately so you feel comfortable and
confident when you stand up to speak.
Before your presentation
Prior to giving your presentation it is useful to:
Familiarise yourself with the control buttons, light
switches, slide controls, and microphone.
Find and familiarise yourself with the pointer. Avoid
using a laser pointer if your hands shake.
Think about where to stand.
Test the light levels for slides.
An Audio Visual Technician will be on hand to help you
with all of this.
Delivering your presentation
Here are some tips you could follow when delivering
your presentation:
Take a few deep breaths before walking to the
podium to calm your nerves
Face the audience
Smile at the audience and the person
introducing you when you start your
Speak slowly and clearly
Project your voice
Be calm and in control
Use slides as your notes
Talk through graphs and images
Establish eye contact with a few friendly faces
Plant a mentor in the front row for visual
Make use of positive and negative feedback
from the audience
Keep the audience awake by:
interleaving images or diagrams with text
handing round hard copies or brochures
showing small pieces of equipment
inviting audience participation
Carry on talking if the computer or slide
projector fails
Avoid eye contact
Appear nervous
Read from written text
Pace up and down
Fidget with the microphone
Jangle keys or change in your pocket
Tell jokes that could fall flat
Ignore your audience
Stare into space above your audience
Focus on: Your slides/the floor/your shoes or a
particular person
Give out copies of your slides before your talk:
this will distract the audience from what you
are saying
Go out drinking heavily the night before your
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 113
Answering questions
It is common to allow time at the end of your talk to
answer questions from the audience. During your
preparation it is always useful to anticipate the
questions that may arise and what your answers might
Tips for using PowerPoint
G Control the slideshow yourself:
You can set the programme to scroll through
the slideshow itself using a timer but it is
best to switch this option off. If you take a
bit longer to do one slide or are interrupted,
you will lose the thread of your talk.
G Use a pointer where appropriate
Do not wave the pointer around the lecture
The computer mouse could also be used
and may make it easier to maintain eye
contact with your audience.
G Try to prevent a shaky pointer
Rest your arm on the podium.
Support your pointer hand with the other
Switch the pointer off when not in use.
Tips for using 35mm slides
G Make sure your slides are in the correct order
and orientation
This will need to be done when you load the
projector, before you start your talk.
A red dot is usually placed at the bottom left
hand corner of the slide mount. When slides
are placed in the carousel the slide is
rotated through 180 degrees so that all the
red dots can be seen and this confirms that
the orientation of the projected slide is
Make use of the facilities and the Audio
Visual Technicians at the venue.
G Use a pointer where appropriate
Tips for answering questions
G Listen carefully
G Do not interrupt the questioner in mid
G Be prepared to rephrase their question:
This gives you time to think of your answer
and a chance for people at the back to hear
the question.
G Keep your answers short
G Confess your ignorance, if you do not know
the answer
Do not try to bluff your way through an
answer, remember you may be talking to
people who have more knowledge of the
subject than you.
Refer the question to your supervisor or
another colleague if they are present, but
make sure you agree this with them first.
G Deflect hostile questions
These rarely occur, but if the questioner
appears to be hostile, do not rise to the bait
and have an argument in public.
Suggest politely that you continue the
discussion after the presentation.
The session Chair is there to control the
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 114
August 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
Information and instructions for preparing
a poster for Congress
5 South Parade, Summertown, Oxford OX2 7JL
Correspondence: congress@iat.org.uk
Preparing and presenting a Poster at IAT Congress can
be just as effective and as rewarding as an oral
presentation but without the nerves associated with
talking in front of hundreds of industry colleagues. The
following guidelines will help you to prepare a good
poster ready for Congress and it may even win the
Poster Prize!
1. Before you start you need to remember that your
poster is presenting highlights of your work.
2. Always read through the information that the
Congress Committee provide, including the
submission form.
3. Here you will find specific requirements of the
meeting and the size and orientation of the poster
4. It may be useful to mark out this area when you are
planning, to get an idea of the space available.
5. Think about how you want to present your poster.
For example, it could be a series of A4 sheets
(often mounted on card or laminated) or a printed,
glossy poster.
6. Talk to people at work about the facilities available
to you and the time and costs involved.
7. You then need to work out the content. Read the
study that you have done or the plan of the study
that you are about to undertake and ask yourself:
G are the statements or plan of work accurate?
G what data do you need to illustrate your findings?
G what are the key points you want to communicate?
Guidelines on technical content
Posters from within the UK that describe
experimental procedures must clearly state that the
work was performed under the prevailing principles
and authority of the Animals (Scientific Procedures)
Act, 1986.
Posters submitted from outside the UK must
explicitly state what legislation and/or ethical
approval the work has been carried out under.
Posters describing surgical techniques with
recovery should include details of post-operative
care and any analgesic therapy.
Posters that describe experimental procedures
should be explicit in defining any benefits to animal
Papers and posters must include any adverse
effects to the animals and the steps taken to
mitigate and minimise such effects, including when
applicable analgesic therapy or humane end points.
Remember, your poster should be a stand-
alone, self explanatory representation of
your work that is relatively simple and easy
to follow.
Structure and design
G posters are a visual communication of your
research so try to keep text to a minimum
G use graphics, such as photos, figures and tables to
‘tell your story’
G avoid over complicated images
G your findings need to be clear and also visible from
a short distance away
G try to guide your audience through the research by
presenting information in a logical sequence
G use arrows or numbers to direct them
A typical content and layout for a poster are shown
below but you do not have to follow this exactly.
Figure 1. Typical poster layout
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 115
G the title should be short and attention grabbing if
G it should be clear from a distance of three metres
G use bold, black typeface (about 24 font size)
G author names should be slightly smaller
G include your facility name and logo if you wish
Abstract and introduction
G display a brief abstract exactly as it was submitted
to the Congress Committee
G include a brief introduction to your poster or work if
you think it adds something
G depending on your work, this could be called
‘materials and methods or ‘study detail’ for
G keep this brief and include photos and graphics if
G the results of your work should form the major part
of your poster
G ensure that graphs and charts are self-explanatory
and keep additional text to a minimum
G keep this brief
G present as a numbered or bulleted list
G suppliers of products can be acknowledged in this
section however the poster should contain no
obvious company branding logos
Remember, at least one author should be
available during the display session to talk
about the work in more detail.
Visual impact
1. Visual impact of the poster is important.
2. Avoid clutter a clean, simple design is most
3. Think carefully about the use of colour and how you
are going to arrange the information before you
commit to the design.
4. Background try a single colour or two to three
related colours for different sections (muted shades
are often best).
5. Areas of white or empty space can be used to
differentiate elements of the poster.
6. Vary the size and spacing of sections to add
7. Outline or alter the background to graphics for
emphasis dark images look good against pale
colours and vice versa.
G your poster should present the highlights of your
G make information clear and only as complex as it
needs to be
G keep text to a minimum
G make the design interesting and not too cluttered or
over the top remember that in the end your
research is the most important thing
G give credit where it is due – contributors, co authors
and sponsors
G create an A4 handout mini version of the poster,
collection of PowerPoint slides or brief summary
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 116
August 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
Let’s talk about ‘Culture of care’
Responsible Research in Practice
Correspondence: info@responsibleresearchinpractice.co.uk
Accessed from: http://www.responsibleresearchinpractice.co.uk/blog.html
Something that I’m being asked to talk about a lot
lately is ‘culture of care’ (CoC). So what is it – and how
can people set about ensuring that they have a good
The first thing to say is that, in my opinion, CoC is a
meaningless phrase unless defined. There is also no
‘one size fits all’ CoC to aspire to. Instead, each
research organisation needs to consider what CoC
means to them, their students and staff. Having
defined CoC at a local level it then becomes something
meaningful and its true value can be realised.
So what might a CoC include? Anyone asked to talk
about CoC, particularly in the context of a research
setting, will probably mention one or more of the
following points:
CoC can be used to express the duty of care,
responsibilities, expectations or ethical
considerations placed upon researchers whose
research involves living subjects. This may be
human or animal subjects or more broadly, research
that has an impact upon the world or the
environment within which we live and that we rely
on to continuing living.
CoC can also be used to describe the work ethic or
research practices within a given research
organisation. In this context, CoC is about how the
research framework and management practices
support its staff and students to do great research
(i.e. is ethical, useful and reproducible) but also
fulfil their potential to become the best researchers
that they can.
CoC is sometimes also viewed in a much broader,
more holistic context, at which point it becomes
more about the stewardship and preservation of
scientific enterprise. This involves inspiring the next
generation, providing role models for researchers,
being open and honest about what research entails
and maintaining a reputation of science as being
responsible, trustworthy and for the greater good.
Now that you have some idea of what CoC could
encompass, we can to start thinking about how it can
be translated into practice.
For me, there are four key foundation stones upon
which a good CoC can be built: commitment, education
and training, communication and management.
1. Commitment
Having defined what CoC means in an organisation and
written it down, the process of taking collective
responsibility for achieving it can begin. There needs to
be widespread awareness of policies, procedures and
expectations that, together with a system of education
and training, support its fulfilment.
2. Education and training
Having education, training or mentoring opportunities
available to support lifelong learning is a must. This
helps every student or staff member to understand
what CoC means for them at each stage of their career,
what they are expected to contribute, why and how they
will be supported to fulfil this expectation.
3. Communication
Effective communication that reaches and is
understood by all, is essential to cut through the noise
Picture credit: RSPCA
Training &
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 117
of day-to-day work pressures and challenges.
Researchers are often fighting to keep up to date with
published findings and protocols, so time is of a
premium. It is important therefore that organisations
support (and even reward) students and staff to have
an awareness of broader research integrity issues and
responsible conduct practices in order to inform their
own research conduct. This fits well with the ethos that
organisations have a critical role in developing
responsible researchers and supporting them to be the
best that they can.
4. Management
Strong, supportive and positive leadership is essential
if everyone is to share the sense of collective
responsibility for achieving a good CoC. Managers must
take responsibility for ensuring that appropriate
standards of integrity, responsible conduct and
behaviour are implemented. Good monitoring will help
alert them to problems and identify potential issues
early, so that assistance and support can be offered to
those who need it.
Some of you at this point may just be looking for some
more reading around the concept of a ‘culture of care’
so for you I can recommend:
The culture of scientific research in the UK (Dec
2014). The Nuffield Council of Bioethics conducted
a series of engagement activities during 2014 to
investigate the culture of scientific research in the
UK and this is the report of the findings.
The concordat to support research integrity (July
2012). This concordat contains five commitments
that the signatory organisations believe everyone
engaged in research should be able to agree with
regardless of their field of research. The third
commitment (pg15-16) is the most relevant to this
blog, talking about embedding a culture of research
Reproducibility and reliability of biomedical
research: improving research practice (Oct 2015).
This symposium report discusses the relationship
between the culture and incentives embedded
within the scientific community and research
reproducibility (pg 52-54).
Promoting a culture of care pg 55-58 in the
LASA/RSPCA Guiding Principles on good practice
for Animal Welfare and Ethical Review
Bodies (Sept 2015). This chapter talks from an
AWERB perspective about how to go about defining
the culture of care, the structural and behavioural
elements that can be a feature of a culture of care
and suggests activities that can help in developing
an establishments’ culture.
Identification and management of patterns of low-
level concerns at licensed establishments (Dec
2015). This Animals in Science Regulations Unit
advice note provides a definition of a good culture of
care for establishments with licenced authority to
use animals in research.
Creating a culture of care (Aug 2014). This NC3Rs
blog post discusses culture of care from the
perspective of a contract research organisation.
ATW Aug 28Oct.e$S:Animal Technology and Welfare 7/11/16 12:50 Page 118
Do present United Kingdom regulations
covering experiments using laboratory
animals strike the right balance between
the interests of human health and
laboratory animal welfare?
Oxford University Biomedical Services, The Old Observatory, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RQ
Correspondence: jessica.wood@bms.ox.ac.uk
Winning entry from the AS-ET Fourth Special Travel Bursary 2016
The objective of this essay is to discuss whether
current UK regulations governing animal research has
an appropriate balance between the interests of human
health and animal welfare. To achieve this, the current
legislation will be reviewed and case studies will be
examined, to explore the issue.
The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986 (ASPA)
has been regarded as one of the strictest legislations
in the world.
The legislation has been in effect in the
UK since 1986 and amended in 2013, to meet the
standards of the European Directive.
The current ASPA
regulations ensure that the welfare of animals is
thoroughly considered with the use of an ethical
framework. The ethical framework which includes the
harm/benefit analysis, must be implemented into
research justification.
Severity bands/humane endpoints
The legislation also includes severity bands of non
recovery, mild, moderate and severe. The severity
limits ensure that animals under a specified severity
protocol do not experience unnecessary suffering
whilst allowing for research to be conducted. To ensure
these severity bands are not breached, humane
endpoints are established for procedures with the
potential to cause suffering. A number of non-invasive
observational methods including changes in physiology
(temperature and weight,
modified behaviour (reduced
increased thirst and drinking
measuring blood saturation,
are currently being
utilised as criteria to identify humane endpoints.
Humane endpoints establish clear criteria in which
scientific data is achievable at the earliest point of a
procedure, minimising unnecessary suffering caused
by advanced pathology and death. Developments such
as these have allowed for death to no longer be
recognised as an acceptable endpoint.
humane endpoints ensures animals experience the
least amount of suffering, whilst preventing data from
being lost.
Harm/benefit assessment
The harm benefit analysis is required to be conducted
by project licence applicants, which is reviewed by the
Home Office prior to project licence approval, under
ASPA legislation. The analysis is a qualitative measure
to determine whether a project licence has balanced its
scientific enquiry with animal welfare. The analysis
determines the potential scientific gains to people,
August 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
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animals or the environment, including the likely harms
caused to animals. The two main likely harms
experienced by animals are; project related harms and
contingent harms, accumulated throughout their
lifetime in the laboratory environment.
All sources of
harm are considered to ensure the licence implements
the 3Rs to aspects of the animals experience
including; transport, housing, husbandry, restraint,
procedure and humane killing. A decision is then made
by individuals with varying perspectives, to ensure the
decision is on a neutral and moral basis as to whether
the likely harms to the animals are justified by the
benefits. The assessment of harms and benefits are
judged on a case by case basis and must be an
evolving process, to accommodate continual
advancements in scientific understanding of animal
welfare, refined techniques and social opinion, which
develop over time.
Whilst the method of evaluating of
harm-benefit analysis is continually debated, it is clear
that the current process aims to use current knowledge
to balance the needs of scientific discovery and that of
animal welfare. If a licence is rejected, the proposed
project licence either cannot prove its value or justify
animal use. The rejection of licences ensures that only
studies able to justify animal use for research are
The 3Rs
The legislation’s key purpose is to regulate the use of
animals used in science, by enforcing strict
establishment, project and personal licences. These
licences ensure that the animals experience the
minimal adverse effects possible. The 3R guidance set
out by Russel and Burch
plays a pivotal role in
justification of the project licence, setting the
standards for the humane use of animals in scientific
The 3Rs comprise of:
Replacement Developing alternative methods to
animal testing.
Reduction Minimising the number of animal
required with compromising the quality of research.
Refinement refining methods to maximise animal
The 3R principles consequently pressure the
development of alternative and refined scientific
methodologies. Stem cells,
cell culturing
and refined
are just a few examples of techniques which
have been progressed, benefitting medical
advancement and reducing the requirement of animal
models in research. While the 3Rs encourage the
development of alternative methods, many are
currently unable to fully replace the use of animals;
therefore the implementation of the other two Rs is
more relevant to current laboratory animal welfare.
Reduction of Primates
Primates play a fundamental role within research and
as such their use requires strict regulation under the
ASPA legislation. In particular, great apes including
chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans are exempt from
being used in science, as it was deemed unethical due
to their high cognitive ability and complex social lives.
However, according to the European parliament
delegation, the vital role marmoset and macaques
have in furthering research into human medicines and
discoveries in neurological functions which cannot
currently be replicated by other means. Consequently,
the use of these primates is permitted if there is
scientific evidence that the aims cannot be reached
with other species.
Genetically altered (GA) animals play a fundamental
role within research to directly determine the function
of genes within the human body, focusing on replicating
clinical symptoms similar to human diseases. GA
models have enabled research to refine methods and
reduce numbers of animals, to gain scientifically valid
A research project that developed a mouse model to
study a protein disorder attributed as a feature of
Alzheimer’s and type II diabetes was previously
induced through chronic administration of
inflammatory agents under a moderate procedure
severity. The resulting models did not exhibit all
symptoms of the disease observed in humans and
variability between animals was high making the
research difficult to reproduce. A GA model was
consequently created to refine this method with only
one injection required to stimulate the production of
the protein of interest. As a result, the procedure has
a reduced severity rating of mild and study sample
sizes decreased from 12 to 8 animals. The study also
gained new insights into the disease as side effects of
the injections previously used to simulate the disorder
were diminished.
However, the benefits of using GA animals in research
must outweigh the potential welfare problems including
unknown phenotypes which are still being discovered.
Nonetheless, there has not been a clear distinction
between the welfare issues associated with creating
GA models and those caused by other disease
The humane treatment of laboratory animals is also
vital for ensuring reproducible scientific results.
Handling stress has been linked as a source of
variation between animal studies, the variation is
caused by stress affecting the behaviour and
physiology of experimental animals.
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consequences of handling stress induced variability
have the potential of masking/altering true results and
attributed to the large number of animals required for a
valid result.
A study compared willingness of mice
to approach their handler with three handling methods;
pickup by tail, by home cage tunnel or external tunnel.
Willingness to approach both tunnel methods was
greater and consequent stress response of the mice in
a test maze was lower compared to mice handled by
the tail.
Refining husbandry and care techniques can
lead to less variation in data and increase the validity
of the results. This study highlights the importance of
balancing scientific aim with animal welfare.
It is clear that the overall aim of the ASPA legislation is
to balance welfare and science. This is achieved by
regulating the use of animals in scientific procedures
which require licences and special justification with the
integrated consideration and implementation of the
3Rs. Key aspects of the legislation include the licences
which permit animal work and the harm/benefit
analysis which must justify that the likely scientific
benefits outweigh the likely suffering to animals. While
the legislation may seem restrictive and heavily
focused on animal welfare, it is reflective of our ethical
responsibility to manage the well-being of experimental
animals, ensuring they experience the least amount of
pain, suffering, distress and lasting harm.
The 3Rs are at the core of the legislation, playing a vital
role in developing refined methodologies which are
required to justify that the most suitable methods are
used in animal research. As a result, improved
techniques have advanced research animal welfare
through reduced numbers, refined husbandry and
replacement of harmful methods and higher species. It
has also been observed that the 3Rs are integral for
improving the integrity of the data gained from such
studies. The reduction and replacement of animal use
has also led to the development of novel techniques,
resulting in reduced welfare related variation, thus
improving the overall validity of associated animal
Considering the points discussed above, the legislation
does appear to reflect the need to balance animal
welfare and human health objectives. Given the need to
balance interests of human health and laboratory
animal welfare, it is my opinion that these
requirements are interlinked and it is therefore in the
interest of scientific advancement to continue to
improve the welfare of animals in research.
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Do present United Kingdom regulations
covering experiments using laboratory
animals strike the right balance between
the interests of human health and
laboratory animal welfare?
Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute, Switchback Road, Bearsden, Glasgow G61 1BD
Correspondence: evarest@research-series.com
The importance of and ground breaking