IAT Journal
Animal Technology
and Welfare
Official Journal of the Institute of Animal Technology
and European Federation of Animal Technologists
Vol 15 No 3 December 2016
ISSN 1742-0385
Zebra Finch welfare
Communicating the Culture o f Care
Rat transpor tation Literatu re review
Congress 2016 posters
Editorial ix
Jas Barley, Chair of the Editorial Board
Enhancing welfare of Zebra finches through the use of environmental enrichment 147
Gordon Gray
Communicating the Culture of Care – how to win friends and influence people 151
Tania Boden and Penny Hawkins
Investigation of transportation on rat acclimatisation using novel cage side recording equipment: a review 157
David Simpson
Transmission pathways: protecting your environment 175
Dan Harding and Sandy Mackay
Do present United Kingdom regulations covering experiments using laboratory animals strike the right balance 181
between the interests of human health and laboratory animals welfare?
Rachel Blackburn-Stout
Do present United Kingdom regulations covering experiments using laboratory animals strike the right balance 184
between the interests of human health and laboratory animals welfare?
Rachael Cooper
Survival of the fittest: Zebrafish larval nutrition 187
Sanjay Jani, Thom Berriman, Hande Tunbak, Ryan Clarke and Bruno Correia da Silva
Assessing husbandry requirements of Zebrafish (Danio rerio) and Medaka (Oryzias latipes) using background 191
literature and comparative information
Samuel Blackledge, Nicola Goodwin, Bradley Clark, Paul Green, Ceri Kovacs, Michael Price and Peter Thompson
Enrichment equals behaviour management 194
Jacqueline Potgieter
Apprenticeship scheme for animal technicians 196
Bonnie Glen and Ryan Cini
The Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Named Persons and their responsibilities:
What is a Named Person? 198
Lesley Dr ynan
The Establishment Licence Holder (ELH) and Named Compliance Officer (NCO) 199
Lesley Dr ynan
The role of the Named Training & Competency Officer (NTCO) 200
Darren Egan
The Named Animal Welfare and Care Officer (NACWO) 201
Helen Cooper, Carolyn Karam and Claire Knox
The Named Veterinary Surgeon (NVS) 202
Marisa Coetzee
The Named Information Officer (NIO) 203
Theresa Langford
The Home Office Liaison Officer (HOLO) 204
Tracey Butcher
NACWO exchange programme 205
Jenny Parks
Introduction of a new training regime 208
Suzie Wilkinson
Instructions to Authors x
Index to Advertisers xv
Vol 15 No 3 Dece mber 2016
Dr Robin Lovell-Badge FRS
Immediate Past President
Professor Sir Richard Gardner MA PhD FRSB FIAT (Hon) FRS
David Anderson MRCVS, Stephen Barnett BA MSc FIAT (Hon)
CBiol FRSB RAnTech, Brian Cass CBE, Miles Carroll PhD,
Gerald Clough BSc PhD EurBiol CBiol MRSB SFZSL,
Paul Flecknell MA Vet MB PhD DLAS DipLECVA MRCVS,
Sue Houlton BVSc MA DVR DVC MRCVS, Wendy Jarrett MA,
Judy MacArthur-Clark CBE BVMS DLAS FRSB DVMS (h.c.), DipECLAM
Tim Morris BVetMed PhD DipACLAM DipECLAM CBiol FRSB Cer tLAS
MRCVS, José Orellana BVSc MSc, Clive Page PhD BSc,
Vicky Robinson CBE BSc PhD, Gail Thompson RLATG,
Robert Weichbrod PhD RLATG, Lord Robert Winston FMedSci DSc
Life Members
Charlie Chambers MIAT RAnTech, Roger Francis MSC FIAT RAnTech,
Pete Gerson MSc FIAT RAnTech, Cathy Godfrey FIAT RAnTech,
John Gregory BSc (Hons) FIAT CBiol FRSB RAnTech, Patrick Hayes
FIAT DipBA RAnTech, Rober t Kemp FIAT (Hon) RAnTech,
Keith Millican FIAT CBiol MSRB, Phil Ruddock MIAT RAnTech,
Ted Wills HonFIAT RAnTech, Dorothy Woodnott FIAT
Honorary Members
Andy Jackson MIAT, Brian Lowe MSc FIAT RAnTech, Sue McHugh
BSc FIAT, Terry Priest MBE FIAT RAnTech, Trevor Richards BEM
MIAT, David Spillane FIAT, Pete Willan DMS FInstLM MIAT
Members of Council
Ken Applebee OBE, Matthew Bilton, Charlie Chambers,
Steven Cubitt, Simon Cumming, Andy Cunningham, Haley Daniels,
Glyn Fisher, Nicky Gent, Cathy Godfrey, Alan Graham, Linda Horan,
Sam Jameson, Elaine Kirkum, Adele Kitching, Sarah Lane,
Theresa Langford, Norman Mor tell, Steve Owen, Wendy Steel,
Allan Thornhill, Lynda Westall, Carole Wilson, Adrian Woodhouse
Council Officers
Chair: Ken Applebee OBE FIAT CBiol FRSB RAnTech
Vice Chair: Norman Mortell BA (Hons) MIAT RAnTech
Honorary Secretary: Linda Horan BSc (Hons) MIAT RAnTech
Honorary Treasurer: Charlie Chambers MIAT RAnTech
Assistant Treasurer: Glyn Fisher FIAT RAnTech
Chair Board of Educational Policy: Glyn Fisher FIAT RAnTech
Chair Board of Moderators: Cathy Godfrey FIAT RAnTech
Chair Registration & Accreditation Board: Wendy Steel BSc (Hons)
Chair ATW Editorial Board: Jas Barley MSc FIAT RAnTech
Bulletin Editor: Sarah Lane MSc FIAT RAnTech
Assistant Bulletin Editor: Carole Wilson BSc MIAT
Branch Liaison Officer: Lynda Westall BSc (Hons) FIAT DMS RAnTech
EFAT Representative: Charlie Chambers MIAT RAnTech
Council Website Coordinator: Allan Thornhill FIAT RAnTech
Animal Welfare Officers and LABA Representatives:
Andy Cunningham, Matthew Bilton, Simon Cumming, Nicky Gent
ATW/Bulletin Editorial Board: Jas Barley, Patrick Hayes,
Elaine Kirkum, Sarah Lane, Carole Wilson, Lynda Westall
Board of Educational Policy: Glyn Fisher (Chair), Steven Cubitt
Board of Moderators: Cathy Godfrey (Chair), Haley Daniels
(Secretary) Moderators: Anthony Iglesias, Theresa Langford,
Jenny Parks
Communications Group: Norman Mortell (Chair), Elaine Kirkum,
Teresa Langford, Allan Thornhill, Lynda Westall, Adrian Woodhouse
Registration and Accreditation Board: Wendy Steel (Chair),
Sarah Lane (Secretary), Ken Applebee, Charlie Chambers,
John Gregory, Cathy Godfrey, Stuart Stevenson, Carol Williams
Observers: Charles Gentry (Certificate Holders Forum),
Adrian Deeny (LASA), Ian Mason (Home Office), Ngaire Dennison
(LAVA), Kathy Ryder (Home Office), Lucy Whitfield (LAVA)
Congress Committee: Alan Graham (Chair), Haley Daniels,
Linda Horan, Adele Kitching, Allan Thornhill
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© 2016 Institute of Animal Technology
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December 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
Jas Barley
Chair of the Editorial Board
“How long does it take to train as an animal technician”?; “I do not know”, I glibly replied, “I have never stopped”.
That was at a school’s career convention, many years ago and I doubt if the student ever considered animal technology
as a career again. It is a shame but in some cases truth is not the best policy! Once we have left school and rejoice
that we have left the restrictions of education behind we of course quickly realise that education in fact continues far
beyond the classroom and that life is one big lesson. I am continually amazed at the way we go on learning, sometimes
by accepting new challenges well into our later years and sometimes by just staying alive and learning from our
experiences. Many of you know that I am involved in Adult Education and our current student ages range from the early
20s to 83 and recently I invigilated an examination in which an 86year-old was sitting an entry Level 3 examination in
Mathematics and was cheerfully explaining that he was planning to go onto do a GCSE in Mathematics.
Animal Technologists are no strangers to life-long learning regardless of whether they are just undertaking their first
training course within the workplace, attending formal IAT qualification courses, working towards a degree or learning
how to teach. Most of the content in this issue contains some element of learning, the very fact that you pick this
journal up and read it contributes to your knowledge. Gordon Gray shares his experiences with different forms of
environmental enrichment for Zebra finches and has asked himself the question when does something become a basic
husbandry need rather than an enrichment. Communication is part of education as Tania Boden and Penny Hawkins
demonstrate in the paper on how to influence the Culture of Care at your establishment. The final formal paper is a
literature review of the effects of transportation on rats by Dave Simpson. This is part of a MSc dissertation and further
material will appear in later issues of Animal Technology and Welfare.
I am pleased to be able to include the thought-provoking information from the Congress 2016 workshop on
transmission pathways which shows us the importance of good hygiene. One of the main challenges Animal
Technologists face is the constant review of the animals in our care welfare, regardless of size, position on the
evolutionary ladder, etc and we have some good examples of how welfare has been improved in species ranging from
Zebrafish to Non-Human Primates. The Congress 2016 Best Poster Award winner was a poster from the team at Kings
College, looking at Zebrafish nutrition at the larval stage. Zebrafish feature also in the poster from the Sanger Institute.
Training and education are major elements in the remaining posters including the series of posters from the Laboratory
of Molecular Biology. If one person is reminded of the responsibilities the Named Persons hold under the Animal
(Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986 then it is a lesson well learnt.
One of the biggest contributions the Institute of Animal Technology has made to the lives of Animal Technicians has
been to provide formal education and we should say thank you to both the early pioneers of animal technology
education and today’s Board of Educational Policy who strive to keep our qualifications relevant to the modern industry
we work in.
August front cover photograph: RSPCA by permission of Penny Hawkins
Front cover photograph: Lindsay Duckett
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 impor tantly, 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
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.
December 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
Enhancing welfare of Zebra finches through
the use of environmental enrichment
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow,
Graham Kerr Building, Glasgow G12 9QQ
Correspondence: gordon.gray@glasgow.ac.uk
This article will describe alterations made by the
University of Glasgow to increase the welfare of our
Zebra finches by providing them with a more complex
environment to engage with. It will describe how we
have maximised the enrichment potential within the
cages giving our finches greater choices of activity, thus
improving their quality of life. Furthermore, it will
discuss how adjustments made to the macro
environment have positively impacted on our finches,
enabling them to display a range of natural behaviours
that would not normally occur in a research
Key words: Zebra finches, welfare, environment,
natural behaviours
Captive animals are provided with a ‘care free’ life.
Food and water is supplied, there are no predators to
avoid, mates are quite often selected for them and
social groupings are usually stable and structured.
However, does this make for a complete and varied
life? The skills needed to evade predators, attract
mates and to forage, challenge an animal’s instinct and
intelligence, preventing boredom and increasing the
physical and psychological welfare of the animal. In a
research environment, animals are unable to express
and display these types of behaviour naturally and
instead need to be stimulated to keep them healthy
and active. This is where the role of environmental
enrichment comes in.
The Zebra finch
Zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata castanotis) are
small passerines native to Australia. Their favoured
habitat is dry wooded areas near watering holes and
they typically live in large flocks of up to 100 birds or
more. The name ‘Zebra finch’ is gained because of the
black and white striped markings on their tail feathers
that are likened to that of a Zebra’s coat. Zebra finches
are one of the most widely used passerines in avian
research alongside the European starling (Sturnus
vulgaris) and the house sparrow (Passer domesticus).
Passerines are useful and interesting research
subjects and are particularly valuable because their
characteristics differentiate from other laboratory
animals such as the production of intricate
The University of Glasgow has maintained
a Zebra finch colony for over 25 years and they are
currently involved in a 5-year study looking at aspects
of stress and longevity.
The cage environment
Most the finches at Glasgow are housed in
experimental cages, although some are housed in large
aviaries that allow for more social interaction and
space for flight. Zebra finches are gregarious and we
keep all our finches in social groups with a maximum
stocking density of ten birds per double cage (120cm x
50cm x 50cm) and sixty birds per large aviary (2m x 2m
x 2m). Our main objective when using enrichment in our
cages is to create conditions that our birds can thrive
in whilst still utilising space and complying with
research requirements. Within the cages we have
provided a specific environment that has been
evaluated based on the finches’ needs, allowing them
to perform essential components of their behavioural
Figure 1. The basic recommended cage set up under
the current guidelines.
Enhancing welfare of zebra finches through the use of environmental enrichment
Variation in perches
Wild birds can perch on a variety of objects and
surfaces; however, in a research environment the
options are unfortunately limited. Birds are on their
feet for most of their lives and it is vitally important
they remain in the best condition as possible. Diversity
amongst perches is crucial in insuring the health and
welfare of our Zebra finches and has played a large role
in preventing health problems and counteracting issues
with our birds’ feet and legs that have already occurred.
In order to create a more dynamic living environment
we have given the finches the option of two different
styles of perch: rigid and twist. When a bird lands on a
rigid perch it is completely firm, whereas when a bird
lands on a twist perch it flexes causing the bird to jostle
into position to maintain its balance. Twist perches
force birds to alter their body posture when taking off
or landing which also impacts the birds that are already
static on the perches as it creates a ripple effect of
This increases activity and strengthens the
bird’s core muscles to enable it to control its position
on the perch. The perching is also set at different
height inclines around the cage creating variety and at
the same time also allowing the birds to fully utilise as
much of the enclosure as possible. In addition because
of the extra space available in the flight aviaries, they
are fitted with a wider variety of perch sizes and types.
This offers further exercise potential to the muscles of
the feet and claws.
Increased effort when feeding
The Zebra finches housed within our facility are fed on a
standard regular mixed millet diet and the food has
always been provided in dishes on the floor. Zebra
finches have a very high metabolic rate and therefore
have been fed ab libitum as this sufficiently fulfils their
energy requirements. With constant access to food
however, instances of overweight and inactive birds
became more frequent and it was apparent that a
different feeding method would need to be incorporated
in order to improve the health of the colony. After
consideration it was decided that the introduction of
hanging millet sprays in the centre of each cage would
be the simplest and most effective technique to combat
this issue. Millet sprays are grass seed stems filled with
seed that are a popular food source for many avian
species. In the wild Zebra finches often feed on grass
seed heads, showing incredible agility in their feet as
they perch on the stems. The millet sprays we use only
contain one type of millet, which does not contain all the
vitamins and nutrients needed to sustain the birds;
however, it does contribute to a balanced healthy diet.
A reduced amount of seed is added to the dishes on the
floor because of this and the millet sprays are supplied
as an additional food source. This provides the birds
with the choice of different feeding methods and helps
to prevent the amount of excess seed that is wasted.
Figure 2. Zebra finch gripping the hanging millet.
Figure 3. Showing the clothes peg and Velcro pad used
to attached the millet spray to the roof of the cage.
The millet sprays are hung by using a clothes peg, two
Velcro pads and small cable tie (shown in Figure 3).
This method is used as the flat surface of the cage
ceiling does not allow the millet to be attached in any
other way. Hanging the millets in the centre of the cage,
out of reach of any of the perches, mimics a natural
feeding method and encourages the birds to work
harder for their food. To feed from the millet, finches
must grip with their feet using different foot muscles
than they would normally use to perch. The muscles
used to maintain balance whilst feeding improves the
strength and coordination of the bird, making them
physically stronger. A foraging opportunity is also
offered when providing the millets, as the birds need to
Enhancing welfare of zebra finches through the use of environmental enrichment
har vest their own seed, which provides mental
stimulation as well as increased physical activity.
Access to a bath
Water baths are provided to our finches in Glasgow at
a minimum of once a week as part of their routine
husbandry. Observations made by the animal house
staff have shown that the birds display a range of
different behaviours when they are about to be
presented with a bath. When other birds within eyesight
are being presented with baths an increase in
vocalisation and alertness can be seen from
individuals and they appear excited knowing they too
will soon be given access. This desire to bathe may
indicate a strong instinct as their wild counterparts
reap many benefits from bathing, making it a crucial
part of their lives. Baths play an important role in
maintenance by keeping feathers in the best condition
possible for as long as possible. While bathing, birds
open and close certain feather tracts to expose the
spaces between them momentarily to water which is
then entrapped and squeezed through their feathers to
cleanse them. Parasites not only cause irritation on
wild finches they also damage the ends of feathers,
making them look slightly sheared or ragged. While
preening, birds tidy and repair their feathers, adjusting
and aligning each feather in the optimum position.
Having access to bathing water encourages birds to
preen which also helps to reduce the amounts of
parasites on the birds, improving feather health. The
flight performance of birds is also said to be increased
when water is available for bathing purposes. It has
been said that birds that are not able to bathe regularly
are clumsier flyers compared with birds that are able to
bathe as they are more agile and find it easier to evade
Zebra finches do not have elaborate mating
rituals and therefore rely on their bright feathers to
attract potential mates. Water access for bathing
purposes allows males to clean their colour ful
feathers, which helps individuals to stand out from the
competition, as their feathers gleam, in the hope of
reproducing and passing on their genetic information.
The eagerness to bathe shows the finches’ natural raw
instinct and although in captivity they do not need to
escape predators or compete for mates, it is easy to
understand the drive these birds possess to bathe
beyond their own enjoyment.
Temperature fluctuation
In the wild Zebra finches thrive in a range of conditions,
from the scorching heat of the day to the freezing cold
temperatures of the evening. Taking these temperature
gradients into consideration and in direct contrast to a
conventional animal house where a steady day and
night temperature is expected to be maintained, for the
birds we have engineered into our heating system
cooler temperatures for the evening.
Our temperatures
fluctuate between 10-30°C in order to comply with
Home Office guidelines, despite the fact that these
birds are able to endure a wider temperature range in
their natural environment. The cooler evening
environment prompts the birds to fluff up their feathers
which traps air inside the layers, providing insulation.
This external signal also causes the finches to
congregate on the perches and huddle together for
additional warmth. These traits are exhibited by wild
Zebra finches to allow thermoregulation during the cold
nights and additionally act to reduce the amount of
wind on individuals. Decreasing the temperatures in
our aviaries in the evening mimics our finches’
authentic environment and allows them to express
behaviours that would be unseen if a consistent day
and night temperature was maintained. This minor
change has induced behaviours that strengthen group
bonding and encourage social interaction while also
exposing the birds to an environmental regime that
they would encounter in their natural habitat.
Soft set lighting
The lights in our aviaries are on for fourteen hours each
day between seven in the morning and nine in the
evening. We maintain this daylight cycle throughout the
year as it is needed to reduce seasonal changes in our
finches’ hormone levels as set in the current project
licence. This routine is kept constant which gives the
birds a rhythm and pattern to their day as they
synchronize with fluctuations in the environment. Soft
set lighting is used throughout the bird facility which
slowly fades in and out over a thirty-minute period.
any species of animal it may be distressing for the light
to immediately flash on or off. The fading light systems
allow the finches time to comfortably adjust to their
surroundings. The gradual changes in light intensity
mimic the natural rise and set of the sun, providing the
birds with environmental cues that allow them time to
rise in the morning and settle in the evening. It has
been recorded that birds that roost communally will
express unique behaviours as the light starts to fade
Figure 4. A Zebra finch perching on the water bath.
Enhancing welfare of zebra finches through the use of environmental enrichment
before eventually turning completely dark. As previously
mentioned, communal roosters will gather on the same
branch or perch in the evening with the purpose of
retaining heat as well as attempting to evade
predators. Individuals farthest away from the centre of
the branch or perch will hop over other birds to secure
a spot closest to the midpoint. This action will repeat
itself with more and more birds being pushed from their
original spots forcing them to repeat the cycle which
will eventually end when the birds settle once the light
levels have dropped completely. This behaviour is
displayed by the birds in an attempt to reduce their
domain of danger assuming a predator generally
attacks the closest individual to it.
Maintaining a natural balance of exposure to daylight
and darkness is an essential component of sleeping
well, however this does not mean animal houses
should be completely pitch black at night. There are a
lot of positive benefits from keeping a low light source
as opposed to complete darkness, leading to the
introduction of night lights fitted in the ceiling of each
of our aviaries at Glasgow. In a Zebra finch’s natural
habitat, light is emitted from the moon at night
providing a low light source for the birds. Welfare
benefits are provided when using this environmental
factor and, given that it occurs naturally in the wild, it is
reasonable to assume they would wish to be exposed
to this in captivity. Birds do not lie down to sleep, they
instead tighten their tendons so that their toes lock
around the perch keeping them secure. Some birds can
fall from their perch during a deep sleep if they are
lifted from the perch or nudged by other birds in the
same cage. This would cause their feet to un-flex,
loosening their tight grip around the perch sur face.
Being on the ground alone in darkness is very stressful
as they are vulnerable from predation in the wild. A
bird’s natural instinct is to automatically fly upwards
removing themselves from danger and returning to the
branch which can be done safely as the birds are able
to see in the moonlight. With no illumination, captive
birds can potentially injure themselves as they thrash
against the cage walls and mesh in an attempt to reach
a perch. The night-lights allow unobscured vision which
eliminates any potential problems for our Zebra
finches. In an ideal environment, light intensity and
temperature fluctuations would be co-ordinated to
mimic seasonal changes similar to the natural
environment of our Zebra finches. However, if these
seasonal light and temperature patterns were matched
under our current research project it would introduce
too many variables which could affect the resulting
data. This is an environmental regime that would
further help to create a more natural stimulating
environment for our birds and providing it would not
interfere with any prospective research projects, it is
something that could be incorporated in the near
Providing animals with an enriched environment is
equally as important as supplying them with nutrition and
veterinary care. Keeping an animal in captivity requires
careful selection of environmental conditions in order to
induce the desired physiology and behaviour. By
improving conditions, we are promoting good welfare,
which reduces instances of stereotypical behaviour.
Stereotypical behaviours are only found in captive
animals and are a result of poor psychological wellbeing,
which results in repetitive fixed patterns of behaviour
with no apparent purpose. Creating a dynamic
environment with a range of stimuli for animals to
engage with increases brain weight and development
making research results fairer and more accurate when
being compared with animals that are deprived in their
surroundings. Captive environments that are not
complex enough to allow animals to perform behaviours
essential for reproduction or survival in the wild can.
production of sound research models is an extremely
important factor when considering an environmental set
up, as is the impact on the welfare of the animal.
Environmental enrichment provides purpose for animals
and increases their ability to cope with behavioural
challenges such as exposure to humans and
experimental manipulation. At Glasgow, the steps we
have taken to refine our finches’ living conditions have
contributed to producing physically and psychologically
healthier birds, which are now far stronger research
models and act to produce data of the highest quality.
I would like to thank Graham Law, Ruedi Nager and
Ross Phillips for information and assistance that has
led to the production of this article. Thanks also to
Graham Law for the use of the photographs.
Bateson, M. and Feenders, G. (2010). The use of
passerine bird species in laborator y research:
implications of basic biology for husbandry and welfare.
ILAR Journal, 51 (4), 394-408.
Home Office (2014). Code of Practice for the Housing and
Care of Animals Bred, Supplied or Used for Scientific
Purposes. This publication is available at www.gov.uk/
government/publications Print ISBN 9781474112390
Web ISBN 9781474112406
Law, G., Nager, R., Laurie, J., Kirk, A., McLachlan, K.,
Adam, G. and Armstrong, D. (2010). Aspects of the
design of a new birdhouse at the University of Glasgow’s
Faculty of Biomedical and Life Sciences. Animal
Technology and Welfare, 9 (1), 25.
Brilot, B.O., Asher, L., and Bateson, M. (2009). Water
bathing alters the speed-accuracy trade-off of escape
flights in European starlings. Animal Behaviour, 78 (4),
Garner, J.P. (2005). Stereotypies and other abnormal
repetitive behaviors: potential impact on validity,
reliability, and replicability of scientific outcomes. Ilar
Journal, 46 (2), 106-117.
December 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
Communicating the Culture of Care how
to win friends and influence people
UCB Celltech, 208 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire SL1 3WE
RSPCA Research Animals Department, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, West Sussex RH13 9RS
*Correspondence: tania.boden@ucb.com
Plenty of information is available on potential
refinements to procedures, housing, husbandry and
care but achieving buy-in from colleagues and
implementation in practice is not always
straightforward. This paper discusses how animal
technologists and named persons can communicate
effectively about refinement which will contribute
towards a positive local Culture of Care and sets out
some action points to help with the development of
communication skills.
This paper was prompted by a presentation given by
Tania Boden at a meeting on reducing and avoiding
severe suffering which was convened by the RSPCA
and held in Brussels in June 2016. The talk described
a process of refining rheumatoid arthritis research
using mice and rats and how this was fed into an
expert working group report but it also included some
extremely useful guidance on how to communicate
effectively and positively about refinement so that you
can make a significant difference for the animals.
The expert working group on refining rheumatoid
arthritis was also convened by the RSPCA and involved
people from different disciplines with different
expertise, who shared a common goal of improving
welfare in rheumatoid arthritis models. This included
scientists and animal technologists from industry and
academia, a laboratory animal veterinarian, a Home
Office Inspector and representatives from scientific
welfare organisations, thus providing a valuable
opportunity for everyone to interact and draw up
practical, feasible recommendations that would reduce
severity without compromising the science. The basis
for these was that a significant reduction in suffering
could be achieved by introducing a number of
refinements such as appropriate environmental
enrichment tailored to rheumatoid arthritis studies, the
potential to use analgesia, refining handling methods,
refining welfare assessments and humane endpoints.
These were based on the literature and good practice
among the authors, published in an open access
journal and shared widely.
From publication to practice good
communication is key
So far, so good but how can animal technologists
present project and personal licence holders with
refinements like these and suggest that they apply them
to their established animal models? Although some
researchers are keen to trial refinements, you may
encounter one or more of these common reactions:
G no
G why?
G what’s the benefit?
G ‘task to value’ ratio (i.e. if they completed the ‘task’,
how much value would it add to the experiment)?
G how much time will it take?
G how much more will it cost?
G will this affect variability or reproducibility?
G will I have to change the licence?
G if I have to ...
Some of these responses will be down to human
nature, as people are generally reluctant to change
their behaviour or tr y new things.
In the case of
scientists, they are also working in a highly pressured
and ver y competitive environment which is a
disincentive to change established practices if these
are believed to work well enough.
However, if you are
well-prepared and working in a facility with a good
culture of care, it should be possible to effectively
tackle these obstacles through positive discussions
and good communication skills.
Animal technologists are actually in a strong position
when it comes to influencing practice and promoting
refinement, for two reasons. First, always remember
that the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement)
are embedded into the Animals (Scientific Procedures)
Act, 1986 (ASPA) and the Home Office expects all
establishments to create and maintain a good local
Culture of Care.
This should include striving to
Communicating the Culture of Care how to win friends and influence people
achieve good practice with respect to all aspects of
ever y animals lifetime, through discussion and
agreement with all stakeholders. There should be an
ongoing dialogue to reflect new knowledge about
animal welfare, refinement and the 3Rs, which can only
be successful if ever ybody works towards a common
goal. Ever yone should feel free to initiate discussions
without having to ask permission which creates a
better Culture of Care for people and animals alike.
Secondly, animal technologists often have a sound
basis for promoting refinement because they frequently
access information on 3Rs initiatives such as
websites, meetings and presentations, in addition to
their training which includes animal welfare, 3Rs and
ethics components.
The technologist’s role within an
organisation often includes working with and caring for
a wide range of animals, at different ages, different
sexes and of different strains, used in different
procedures. Animal technologists therefore gain
knowledge based on a wide variety of observations and
interactions, along with a sound theoretical background
of animal biology and welfare.
A ten point plan
Despite the above, it is sometimes difficult to persuade
researchers to change their protocols and apply
refinements (especially with established animal
‘models’) as they fear this will affect their results.
However, constructive discussion can help to identify
whether objections are perceived or real and how to
move forward. Good preparation will help you to make
your case. Here is a ten point plan for successful
1. Do some background reading, so that you know
some more about the science. This helps to
promote mutual respect of one another’s work
between scientists and animal technologists. For
example, you could review project licences and see
whether there are any areas that you could discuss
and suggest improvements. Check scientific papers
and welfare websites for ideas and initiatives or
note down your own ideas. Your Named Information
Officer should be able to help you with this.
2. Start a conversation, rather than confronting. This
does not have to be a formal conversation; it could
be within the laboratory, animal rooms, canteen or
the car park! Do not confront people with the latest
welfare journal papers and demand to know why
they haven’t instigated the newest practices; the
idea is to create a culture in which chatting about
welfare is normal and everybody feels comfortable
doing so. Show your interest; chat to the researcher
and ask them to explain their project and its
objectives you might be surprised how keen they
are to discuss their experiments and the science
behind them. Then you can discuss refinements ...
3. Think about the questions you may be asked. All
scientists will have questions or concerns about
the effects of refinements on their experiments;
some examples are in the list of common reactions
above. Considering in advance how you might
respond to these will help you to keep the
conversation flowing and sell the idea of
implementing refinement. Remember the legal and
ethical imperative to implement refinement too;
adequate resource should be made available by the
establishment or funding body.
4. Be enthusiastic about the refinements you are
suggesting this is often catching! If you are
excited about what you might achieve together, you
are more likely to have an upbeat conversation
which will end with a positive result.
5. Reiterate the positives. It is widely accepted that
better welfare means better science and
implementing Refinement (and the other 3Rs) also
often leads to financial savings or more effective
use of resources. Talk about all the benefits
associated with the 3Rs and point out that small
changes can make big differences.
6. Offer to work together. Volunteer your assistance
to implement any changes, keep logs of animal
behaviour as a way of evaluating refinements or
liaise with named persons regarding any changes.
7. End with an agreement. Even if you only agree to
discuss things further, you have achieved a tacit
acknowledgement that there may be room for
improvement. Do not give up!
8. Review any changes. Always explore what worked,
what did not and what might work if some changes
are made. This should be an ongoing process and
it maps on to Animal Welfare and Ethical Review
Body (AWERB) tasks such as following the
development and outcome of projects.
Use your AWERB
There are several AWERB tasks that should help you
promote the Culture of Care and communicate about
refinement. For example, AWERBs should:
G support named persons and other staff dealing with
animals, on animal welfare, ethical issues and
provision of appropriate training;
G help to promote a Culture of Care;
G promote awareness of animal welfare and the Three
Rs and
G provide a forum for discussion and development of
ethical advise to the establishment licence holder on
all matters related to animal welfare, care and use.
If you are an active member of your AWERB, you can also
help it to advise staff on animal welfare and the
application of the Three Rs; follow the development and
outcome of projects (including implementation of
refinement) and review processes for monitoring
Communicating the Culture of Care how to win friends and influence people
9. Feedback to colleagues who have had an input, as
well as to a wider audience.
10. Suggest that your establishment offers incentives
to implement the 3Rs. The AWERB could be a good
forum to put this forward (see box). Incentives could
include funding attendance at a relevant conference,
peer recognition or a cash prize. Different people are
motivated by different rewards; scientists may be
more motivated by the opportunity to produce a
poster or publish a paper on their initiative.
Producing papers or posters is also a good idea to
promote mutual respect and sharing of ideas, as
everyone can collaborate on these.
The overarching concepts are that it is highly beneficial
for animal technologists to positively engage scientists
in the 3Rs and your interactions with scientists should
not be seen as something negative or that happens only
when there is a problem. For example, when there are
new starters, make sure you can take some time to
show them around the facility and let them know that
the animal care team is available to help and advise
them. It is also important to communicate with animal
care staff and explain to them the reasons for
refinements to non-regulated activities such as cage
cleaning or animal handling. People are often asked to
use techniques and equipment without any background
explanation, so they proceed without thinking about why
they are doing things that way or whether further
refinements might be possible.
Whoever you are speaking with, beginning with a positive
interaction, e.g. by praising people for good practice, can
then make it easier to persuade them to try further
refinements. For example, you could start a conversation
on a topic such as the length of time animals are in
warming cabinets or why a particular needle size is being
used, explaining the impact on the animals and saying
how positive it is to see good practice. You could discuss
alternative approaches, or just tell them about new
initiatives you have seen on websites or at meetings. If
this is done often enough, it becomes normal to discuss
the 3Rs and animal welfare; this can be achieved at all
levels and with all job roles. A further benefit of making
such discussions normal working practice is that any
concerns are likely to arise in discussions between
colleagues, making it more likely that any issues will be
dealt with before they escalate.
Beyond conversations
Another way of communicating positively is to create a
newsletter that goes out regularly to all licence holders
and unit staff, with updates on available training, new
equipment, new members of staff and any particular
expertise they have, meetings such as the AWERB and
external meetings. The newsletter can also include
links to internal and external resources and initiatives
relating to animal welfare and the3Rs, with relevant
contact details.
Figure 1. Poster showing a healthy rabbit.
Legend: Poster by Mark Hasler, UCB
* This information is also useful with respect to reporting
experimental results according to the ARRIVE guidelines;
Creating posters is another option for communication,
for example setting out information about the species
housed in each room with good practice for diet, light
cycles, enrichment, social housing and temperature
etc. (Figure 1),* or reminding people to check their
project licences and local good practice for dosing and
blood sampling.
You could also produce posters depicting healthy
animals, stating ‘I am healthy’ with some positive
images. These can also be used to check and assess
the welfare of experimental animals, as sometimes
scientists forget what a healthy animal looks like
because they are used to dealing with sick animals!
Changing the posters regularly will help to keep people
A practical example
Table 1 sets out how good communications and team
work enabled significant progress with both developing
an establishment’s Culture of Care and refining the
collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) and collagen antibody-
induced (CAIA) mouse model of rheumatoid arthritis.
Communicating the Culture of Care how to win friends and influence people
DBA/1 male mice were used for the CIA protocol which is quite an
aggressive strain. We found that keeping the mice in the facility one month
before the start of the experiment increased the incidence of rheumatoid
arthritis (which was probably an immunological effect) but also increased
fighting. The increased aggression was a concern and could have had the
opposite effect on disease uptake due to stress. After discussion with the
scientist, we tried different approaches to reduce fighting. Working together,
and communicating regularly, we introduced:
The number of animals per cage was reduced to 5, after ensuring that
this was appropriate for experimental group sizes. The animals were less
likely to form separate groups and fight for dominance. We also put two
houses in the cage, so in the case of any aggression they would have
separate areas within the cage or would not guard the house.
We also put wheels within the cage, finding that the animals would
expend energy on wheel running rather than each other!
A study to see whether we could use females. This would reduce the
problems with aggression but all historic data and other labs use males.
We aimed to evaluate responses in males and females, in the hope that
there were no significant differences so we could use females in the
The injection site at the base of the tail became a concern, as the adjuvant
often caused ulceration or sores on this very thin piece of skin. Discussion
with the scientist about moving injection sites revealed concerns about
moving away from sites near the draining lymph nodes, in case this resulted
in less disease. So, in each further study, the injection sites were moved
slightly further away from the base of the tail towards the flanks while
monitoring the disease incidence.
Next, we found that animal models which relied on an observational scoring
system, such as CIA, could be liable to bias if the experiment was scored by
a person who had an interest in the outcome. As a result we decided to use
animal technologists to score the animals daily, or to check the scientists’
scores twice a week. The techs worked closely with the scientists for a few
weeks until everybody was satisfied that they were scoring the animals in the
same way. The animal technologists then took over scoring and passed the
results to the scientists.
It was then noticed that some animals were scratching around their injection
sites and causing ulceration. We consulted with the scientist and the NVS,
who recommended the use of EMLA local anaesthetic cream to relieve the
symptoms. The scratching stopped!
Animals developing rheumatoid arthritis were still eating less food and losing
weight. We therefore started to supplement their food with more palatable or
favourable treats before
estimated disease onset. This was discussed with
the scientist and agreement was reached on what we both would be happy
with. We put more palatable food (Nutella
and wet mash), sunflower seeds,
and orange segments on the cage floor, with longer nozzles on the water
bottles so the animals did not have to reach up so much.
In the light of the above improvements, we could then review the welfare
scoring sheet and reduce humane endpoints, include the Mouse Grimace
Scale (MGS) and score cumulative suffering. The score sheets for CIA and
CAIA were differentiated, as we found the disease symptoms were different
and this needed to be captured, and new endpoints added, for CAIA.
Next, a literature review suggested that the antibody cocktail amounts for the
induction of CAIA produced a disease profile that was more severe than was
actually needed to study drug efficacy. The project and personal licence
holders worked together to titrate the antibody to a level that gave a less
severe outcome for the animals.
Immediately after the CAIA challenge with lipopolysaccharide (LPS),
difficulties were encountered with blood sampling due to transient effects of
LPS. This was noted by the NACWO, who asked whether the blood volumes
for PK profiling could be reduced. The licence holder investigated this with
other departments and it was agreed to reduce the volumes.
We discussed and trialled different analgesics, with an on-going process to
try and quantify or measure success.
The most recent refinement is the introduction of Vetbed
to restrain animals
with swollen paws.
Outcome of review
When the numbers per cage were reduced and wheels were added, disease
uptake was slightly improved, fighting was reduced, fewer animals had to be
separated and experimental groups remained constant, leading to less
variability. This did not take any more time, and the only financial outlay was
the wheels and houses which are re-used. Both the scientist and the NACWO
were content with the situation.
The outcome of the ‘males vs. females’ study was inconclusive and more
work is needed on this.
The scientist and NACWO were happy with the injection sites. Using the new
sites took no more time, the disease incidence stayed the same,
complications at injection sites were reduced and we have only needed to
humanely kill very few animals due to ulceration.
Everybody was content with this approach, which gave more involvement to
animal technologists, freed up the scientists’ time and hopefully reduced any
Fewer animals developed ulceration and had to be euthanased, therefore
overall experimental numbers were reduced.
There was no impact on the disease process, no animals were euthanased
for weight loss and we were able to reduce endpoints from 20% to 15%
(although we rarely see weight loss of more than 5%).
Refining the scoring sheets reduced endpoints and enabled the introduction
of new scoring parameters e.g. the MGS.
Refining the protocol enabled an efficacious animal model, where very few
animals reached the endpoints which meant reductions in both animal
numbers and suffering.
The impact on the animals was reduced and the procedure became easier
for the personal licence holder.
We have successfully used analgesics in drinking water in some studies,
which has enabled us to alleviate pain without handling the animals (and has
not compromised the science). Work to evaluate the effectiveness of
different analgesics, using a battery of different techniques including the
MGS, is ongoing.
It is much easier to handle animals, presumably because it is less painful for
them. We now use Vetbed
when training staff to handle animals.
Table 1. Step by step refinement of rheumatoid arthritis studies.
Communicating the Culture of Care how to win friends and influence people
This was a well-established model that had been
running for a number of years and there was resistance
to change any part of the protocol, or how the animals
were cared for, in case this changed the disease
process. So, we suggested implementing refinements
in steps and reviewing each change. Introducing small
changes in this way has had a big impact on the
procedures themselves, reducing numbers and severity
and improving the science.
The process of
researching, considering and implementing
refinements has evolved so that it now includes all
parties; the Named Animal Care and Welfare Officer
(NACWO), Named Veterinar y Surgeon (NVS), project
and personal licence holders, animal technologists and
care staff. As the researchers could see the benefits to
their science over time, they began to suggest further
improvements and refinements, especially when it
became clear that most of the refinements had no cost
or time implications and actually made the experiments
It became a normal process to discuss and follow the
refinements on a daily basis until everybody was happy
with the refined protocols. Along with the positive
outcome for the animals, in terms of reduced severity,
the process has had a positive effect on everybody that
has been involved. Some positive outcomes are:
1. Two internal 3Rs prizes have been won.
2. A poster was presented at the Laboratory Animal
Science Association annual congress.
3. A scientist and the Facility Manager/NACWO/
Named Training and Competency Officer (NTCO)
jointly presented a talk at the RSPCA/Universities
Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) Rodent
Welfare Meeting.
4. Participation in an Expert Working Group on refining
rheumatoid arthritis research,
which also led to
collaboration between academic and industry
scientists with respect to refinement.
5. A talk was presented at the international meeting on
reducing severe suffering convened by the RSPCA in
All of the above have assisted in career development
and these examples can be used as a ‘carrot’ when
discussing other models with other scientists.
Conclusions and action points
So-called ‘soft skills’, such as communication skills,
assertiveness and the ability to build relationships, are
essential for animal technologists who want to help
build their establishment’s Culture of Care and
promote the 3Rs, including Refinement. However, little
if any training in these skills is routinely provided for
animal technologists or other people who are critical to
the Culture of Care such as AWERB members.
hope this paper provides some encouragement and
useful tips for those who want to have more of an
influence at their establishment and elsewhere and
suggest the actions below as a starting point.
G be confident in your knowledge base, connections
and training
G ... or if you are not, talk to a sympathetic senior
colleague (such as a NACWO) about how you could
work on these
G set yourself a goal of getting to know more of the
researchers at your facility and more about what
they do
G try out the ten point plan next time you want to
promote refinement (or the other two of the 3Rs)
G use the AWERB to suppor t you and consider
becoming more involved see reference 8
G think about other ways of communicating and
creating a positive atmosphere, such as posters
and newsletters
G tell us what kind of training you would find helpful,
with respect to the ‘soft skills’ listed above you
can email research.animals@rspca.org.uk and
raise this at your establishment also, for example
via the AWERB or the NTCO.
All URLs last viewed 5 October 2016
Hawkins, P., Armstrong, R., Boden, T., Garside, P.,
Knight, K., Lilley, E., Seed, M., Wilkinson, M. and
Williams, R.O. (2015). Applying refinement to the use of
mice and rats in rheumatoid ar thritis research.
Inflammopharmacology, 23: 131-150.
Halvorson, H.G. (2011). Explained: why we don’t like
change. The Huffington Post (US edition): tinyurl.com/
See the Nuffield Council on Bioethics work on the culture
of scientific research in the UK nuffieldbioethics.org/
project/research-culture/ has a useful summary of its
Home Office. (2014). Guidance on the Operation of the
Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. Her Majesty’s
Stationery Office, London.
RSPCA and LASA. (2015). Guiding Principles on Good
Practice for Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Bodies,
3rd edn. tinyurl.com/RSPCA-LASA-AWERB
Hawkins, P. (2013). Discussion paper: Reducing severe
suffering. Animal Technology and Welfare 12(2): 87-91.
LASA, LAVA and IAT. (2016). Guiding Principles for Named
Training and Competency Officers (NTCO), Named
Information Officers (NIO) and Home Office Liaison
Contacts (HOLC) working under the Animals (Scientific
Procedures) Act 1986. Download at: www.lasa.co.uk/
Hawkins, P., Farmer, A.-M. and Woodley, S. (2015). How
to become involved with the Animal Welfare and Ethical
Review Body (AWERB) – report of a workshop held at the
2015 IAT Congress. Animal Technology and Welfare 14(3):
Lilley, E. and Jennings, M. (2013). Refinement – Lessons
from the 2012 Olympics. PiLAS August 2013: pilas.org.uk/
Communicating the Culture of Care how to win friends and influence people
Hawkins, P., Littlefair, P., Golledge, H., Richardson, C.,
Allden, S., Boden, T., Hendrie, C., Wells, D., Osborne, N.,
Hutchison, M., Ryder, S., Jennings, M. and Hubrecht, R.
(2014). Report of the 2013 RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare
Group meeting. Animal Technology and Welfare 13(3):
AWERB stakeholders. (2015). Summary of UK AWERB
stakeholder discussion meeting, held on 18 May 2015.
December 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
Investigation of transportation on rat
acclimatisation using novel cage side
recording equipment (rodent Big Brother):
a review
Manchester Metropolitan University, All Saints Building, All Saints, Manchester M15 6BH
Extract from a MSc Animal behaviour dissertation
It has been realised over the last decade that improved
animal welfare gives better results and more
reproducible data from studies. The transportation of
animals from supplier to experimental facility is one of
the biggest stressors in the life of an animal, when the
animals arrive at the testing facility they are confronted
with a novel environment which will sound and smell
completely new; new caging, different food, possible
new cage mates, assorted enrichment and different
husbandry staff and husbandry methods. This is why
acclimatisation should be considered when designing
an experiment.
The per fect study design for an acclimatisation
investigation would be to use the animal’s home cage
to record behaviours with the cage mates present but
without disturbing the animals, while still collecting
enough data to investigate changes over a 7 day
period. Rodent Big Brother (RBB) is a novel system
which has a wide range of applications. RBB can be
used to observe rat behaviours and cage position to
investigate if behaviours can be used to determine a
period of acclimatisation.
Key words: Acclimatisation, Rodent Big Brother,
transportation, welfare, Rat behaviour.
I have worked within an animal laboratory environment
for the last 23 years and became a Home Office
licensee 21 years ago progressing to my current role as
a senior scientist managing work with animals on a
daily basis. Caring for animals and observing their
behaviour has been a significant part of my life. Having
seen the developments within the industry over many
years and being involved with introducing and validating
new methods (Prior et al.,
2015, Prior et al., 2012,
Redfern et al., 2005
) means that animal welfare is
obviously at the forefront of my mind. Individuals that
work with laboratory animals see these improvements
as an essential part of their role and it is also part of
standard licence conditions to use the most refined
methods possible when planning a study. Regular
meetings, literature reviews, conferences and
discussions ensure all ideas are captured. There are
several societies for laboratory animal staff to meet
and discuss their own developments and best practice
in animal care with other companies and facilities
within the animal research industry. These include
meetings of the Institute of Animal Technology (IAT)
including Congress, the Laboratory Animal Science
Association (LASA) and American Association of
Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). The main concerns
when working with animals are animal welfare, high
standards of science and the 3Rs (Reduction,
Refinement and Replacement), often the three are
interlinked when working to best practices. Therefore
when reviewing literature for this project, I believed
these to be the essential elements of this project to be
Animal research is a difficult subject to discuss and it
brings up strong views and emotions, for both those
who support animal research, with Groups like Pro-test,
and Seriously Ill for Medical Research (SIMR) and
Groups against the use of animals, Fund for the
Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments
(FRAME) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF). Research
shows that the majority of people (approximately two
thirds of the United Kingdom population) feel that
animal research for medical reasons is important
(ipsos-mori.com, 2014) and with reduced pain and
suffering, is an acceptable method to help cure serious
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty
to Animals (RSPCA) quote Historically, animals have
been used in a wide range of scientific research
activities that have provided many benefits to society,
particularly in relation to the advancement of scientific
Investigation of transportation on rat acclimatisation using novel cage side recording equipment
knowledge, human and veterinary medicine, and the
safety of chemical products.”
Millions of animals are used in scientific research in
the United Kingdom every year. The Home Office states
that in 2012,
4.11 million scientific procedures were
started in Great Britain, an increase of eight percent
(+317,200 procedures) compared with 2011. Mice
being the most commonly used species accounting for
around three-quarters of procedures (74%) and rats
(7%) accounted for the third largest amount behind fish
(12%). The numbers of procedures for safety testing
(toxicology) decreased by six per cent (-22,100) to
377,000 in 2012. These animals are cared for by
trained, licensed staff, all of whom do their utmost to
look after these animals to minimise any pain or
suffering. All procedures are conducted in licensed
establishments, under specific project licences by staff
that hold Home Office licenses giving them permission
to perform the procedures.
Animal welfare
Animal welfare has become the priority for all
experiments with animals. It has been realised over the
last decade that improved animal welfare gives better
results and more reproducible data from studies. The
quality of life of an animal can affect its physiology and
thereby, any research data. The improvements in
animal welfare in experiments var y from dosing
methods (Turner et al., 2012),
blood sampling
techniques, quantities and restraining methods (Prior
et al., 2015,
Meijer et al., 2006,
Tabata et al.,
to animal housing (Gonder and Laber, 2007,
Patterson-Kane et al., 2001,
Lyst et al., 2012),
including enrichment (Ditewig et al., 2014,
Franks et al., 2013,
Hanmer et al., 2010)
single housing (Abou-Ismail and Mahboub, 2011,
Boggiano et al., 2008,
Mering et al., 2001,
Greco et al., 1989),
food (Beale et al.,
lighting (Hasegawa et al., 2000,
Carlos and Baumans, 2009),
temperature control
(Gonder and Laber, 2007)
and husbandry (Smith and
Corrow, 2005).
All these refinements will lead to
better science. Townsend gives a description of
animals as “An animal is a living sentient complex
variable and varying organism. An animal reflects every
change in its environment and management by
modification to its body chemistr y, behavioural
patterns, physiological reactions or ability to combat
infection. Such modifications may well invalidate or at
least reflect on the reproducibility of animal tests”
(Townsend, 1979).
Every animal is different and will
cope with different environments and stressors
differently. Research has shown that data at the
behavioural, cellular, and biochemical levels can be
completely different depending on whether rats had
access to enrichments (such as toys to play with,
tunnels to run through and things to climb). This can
affect things like gene expression, hormones and are
cell-signalling molecules called cytokines (The
Conversation, 2015).
The thousands of publications
that look at animal welfare and 3Rs (reduction,
refinement and replacement) is staggering and a credit
to the industries involved in animal experimentation.
Again the literature on animal housing and husbandry
is numerous and all help to alleviate stress and
promote good ethics and in turn better results (Everds
et al., 2013,
Prager et al., 2011,
Abbott et al.,
The transportation of animals from supplier to
experimental facility is one of the biggest stressors in
the life of an animal (Foster and Meyers, 1980,
et al., 2012,
Tuli et al., 1995,
Swallow et al.,
Arts et al., 2008).
Transportation unavoidably
causes stress in animals (Arts et al., 2014,
and Baldwin, 2006).
Stresses can affect the outcome
of studies if acclimatisation isn’t considered (Abbott et
al., 2006).
Animals are boxed in transportation
carriers for long periods of time, usually kept in the
dark, affecting circadian rhythm (van der Meulen,
In 2005 Jeremy Swallow from Pfizer global
research and development chaired a working group
established by Laboratory Animal Science Association
(LASA). This working party consisted of members of the
animal science industry as well as the RSPCA, the
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(DEFRA) and Animal suppliers/transporters. The group
produced guidance on the transport of Laboratory
animals (Swallow et al., 2005).
This is an essential
document that standardises the way animals are
transported in the UK. What is not clearly guided in
documents or by the Home Office is the period of time
these animals require to acclimatise to their new
environment before data from the animals is collected.
When the animals arrive at the testing facility they are
confronted with a novel environment (Golani et al.,
1993, Russell et al., 2010,
Eilam and Golani,
Whishaw et al., 2006)
which will sound and
smell completely new; new caging, different food,
possible new cage mates (Meerlo et al., 1997),
assorted enrichment and different husbandry staff and
husbandry methods. The effects from these stressors
have been studied to a limited extent and using
different species methods including; blood samples for
plasma corticosterone, telemetr y to measure heart
rate and blood pressure (Arts et al., 2012,
et al., 2007a,
Stemkens-Sevens et al., 2009)
and water consumption, blood glucose (Van Ruiven et
al., 1998),
body weight faecal corticosterone (Dahlin
et al., 2009).
Results from these studies vary on how
long acclimatisation should be, but 3 to 4 days seems
to be a standard result. The facility where I am
performing this investigation acclimatise their animals
for at least 7 days before starting scientific procedures
Investigation of transportation on rat acclimatisation using novel cage side recording equipment
but may collect data 3 days before to get a base line
for food consumption or body weights.
The per fect study design for an acclimatisation
investigation would be to use the animal’s home cage
to record behaviours, with the cage mates present but
without disturbing the animals, while still collecting
enough data to investigate changes over a 7 day
period. Collection would be non-invasive and without
licensed procedures. Various systems exist for
measuring basic ambulatory activity of single-housed
rats (Van de Weerd et al., 2001b),
not behaviours.
Generally in arenas outside the home cage (Gersner et
al., 2005,
Anseloni et al., 1995
and usually not for
prolonged periods (Ross Ross, 2000,
Boucard et al.,
and only during the light phase of the circadian
rhythm, missing the most active period of a rats life.
Rodent Big Brother
A challenge was set under the National Centre for the
Replacement Refinement and Reduction of Animals in
Research (NC3Rs) CRACK IT
scheme to monitor
ambulatory activity, behaviours and body temperature
of individual rats continuously for up to 30 days, when
group-housed in unmodified home cages, using non-
invasive methods. This would allow monitoring within a
standard regulator y toxicology study environment,
remaining as non-obstructive as possible
brother). The idea of Rodent Big Brother (RBB) was
born. This novel system has a wide range of
applications but for this project it will be used to
obser ve rat behaviours, and cage position to
investigate if these behaviours can be used to
determine a period of acclimatisation, after road
transportation of animals to a new laboratory.
Though still in the validation phase of RBB, I have
decided to use this equipment to run my
acclimatisation investigation. This equipment is ideal
for this investigation as the rats will be placed directly
in their home cage, with cage mates and with the use
of LED lighting recordings will be 24hrs a day, seeing
what happens when the technicians go home.
This will be the first study carried out using this
equipment so unfortunately the automated behaviour
recognition will not be available and all my
obser vations will have to be manually noted by
observing video recordings but this in turn will be able
to be used to validate/compare human recording to the
automated system, when the automated observation is
finally validated.
The findings from this project will help with the quality
of science in the planning of future studies, improve
animal welfare and understanding of the behaviours of
laboratory rats arriving in a new environment. The
potential for RBB will be unknown for several years but
could be one of the biggest changes working with
laboratory rodents over the last 20 years. RBB could be
used, to investigate animal sudden deaths, by
observing video footage retrospectively. Other potential
uses are, studying drug dependency models and on a
welfare side of things RBB could be used to investigate
animal socialisation, enrichment choice, breeding and
so on. With additional development in this technology it
could soon be possible to have an alarm or email from
a RBB computer to tell a researcher animals are
subdued or displaying abnormal behaviours, allowing
immediate action to be taken to alleviate any pain or
suffering. Being able to know how long it has been
since an animal has eaten by the press of a button.
Rodent Big Brothers Little Brother (RBBLB) is also hot
on the heels of RBB and will be used to observe mice.
Circadian Rhythm
Rats are nocturnal and follow a different circadian
rhythm to humans. Circadian rhythm has been
investigated for several decades (Szafarczyk et al.,
Challet et al., 1997,
Slotten et al., 2002a,
Szafarczyk et al., 1981,
Slotten et al., 2002b,
Challet et al., 1997,
Slotten et al., 1999,
Brummer et al., 1997,
Friedman and Walker, 1968,
Stupfel et al., 1973).
The majority of laboratory
experiments take place during the day time, throughout
the rat’s rest period. Therefore, by the time the rats
become active at dusk most laboratories will be closed
for the night and the rats are free to eat, drink, play and
do other rat activities without observation. This means
the rats can show clinical signs/adverse reactions that
will not be detected by any technical staff.
After performing this literature review I have decided
this study will investigate the acclimatisation of rats
arriving at the facility and will use the behaviours of the
animals and position in cage to see if an
acclimatisation period can be calculated without the
use of blood samples, heart rates or any other
scientific procedures that have been used in other
experiments. This experiment also allows a vigorous
validation of RBB. It will be the first study to use this
system and will allow any trouble shooting and give an
idea of how reliable the computer set up is. This will
help the future validation and use of RBB. The rats for
this study will not have any procedures performed at
the facility. With a positive outcome of this experiment
I would like to define a recommended acclimatisation
period that can be utilised across laboratories and also
start validating the RBB system therefore helping
animal welfare, science and the 3Rs.
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Additional web sites
https://www.aalas.org/ (Accessed 11/9/15)
0Testing/AnimalTesting-index.htm (Accessed 1/9/15)
CRACK_IT_Challenges/challenge%203%20surger y%20Roden
t_Big_Brother_transcript.pdf) (Accessed 20/8/14
http://www.frame.org.uk/ (Accessed 1/9/15)
(Accessed 20/7/15)
www.iat.org.uk/ (Accessed 11/9/15)
BISanimalresearch_TRENDreport.pdf (accessed 20/7/15)
www.lasa.co.uk/ (Assessed 11/9/15)
http://www.pro-test.org.uk/ (Accessed 1/9/15)
http://www.simr.org.uk/ (Accessed 1/9/15)
http://theconversation.com/animal-research-var ying-
(Accessed 28/9/15)
Verbesserung des Wohlbefindens von Zebrafinken
durch Umweltanreicherung
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow,
Graham Kerr Building, Glasgow G12 9QQ, Großbritannien
Korrespondenz: gordon.gray@glasgow.ac.uk
Dieser Artikel befasst sich mit Neuerungen, die von der University of Glasgow im Interesse einer Verbesserung des
Wohlbefindens unserer Zebrafinken umgesetzt wurden und die Schaffung einer komplexeren Umgebung für die Vögel
bezwecken. Er beschreibt, wie wir das Anreicherungspotenzial in den Käfigen maximiert haben, um unseren Finken
mehr Anreiz zu Bewegung zu bieten und so ihre Lebensqualität zu verbessern. Außerdem wird darauf eingegangen,
inwiefern sich Anpassungen der Makroumgebung positiv auf die Finken ausgewirkt und sie zu einer Reihe natürlicher
Verhaltensweisen angeregt haben, die sie normalerweise in einer Forschungsumgebung nicht an den Tag legen.
Schlagwörter: Zebrafinken, Umgebung/Umwelt, Wohlbefinden, natürliche Verhaltensweisen
December 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
Paper Summary Translations
Vermittlung einer Kultur der Sorgfalt wie man
Freunde und Einfluss gewinnt
UCB Celltech, 208 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire SL1 3WE, Großbritannien
RSPCA Research Animals Department, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, West Sussex
RH13 9RS, Großbritannien
*Korrespondenz: tania.boden@ucb.com
Informationen zum potenziellen Refinement der Verfahren sowie von Unterbringung, Haltung und Pflege stehen
reichlich zur Verfügung. Weniger einfach gestalten sich jedoch die Gewinnung der Unterstützung von Kollegen und die
entsprechende Umsetzung in die Praxis. Dieser Artikel legt dar, wie Tiertechniker und benannte Personen effektiv
über Refinement kommunizieren und so zu einer positiven Kultur der Sorgfalt vor Ort beitragen können. Weiter werden
einige Maßnahmen zur Förderung von Kommunikationsfähigkeiten aufgeführt.
Schlagwörter: Kultur der Sorgfalt, Tier techniker, benannte Personen, Refinement-Methoden,
Paper Summary Translations
Untersuchung des Einflusses des Transports auf die
Akklimatisierung von Ratten mittels eines
neuartigen Aufnahmegeräts neben dem Käfig
(Rodent Big Brother): eine Erörterung
Manchester Metropolitan University, All Saints Building, All Saints, Manchester M15 6BH,
Auszug aus einer MSc-Dissertation über Tier verhalten
Während des vergangenen Jahrzehnts hat sich die Erkenntnis durchgesetzt, dass sich die Optimierung des Tierwohls
in besseren Versuchsergebnissen und reproduzierbareren Studiendaten niederschlägt. Der Transport von Tieren vom
Lieferanten zur Versuchseinrichtung ist einer der größten Stressfaktoren im Leben eines Tieres. Bei Ankunft im Labor
werden die Tiere mit einer andersartigen Umgebung konfrontiert: vollkommen neue Geräusche und Gerüche, neue
Käfige, anderes Futter, eventuell neue Käfigmitbewohner, verschiedenste Anreicherungsformen sowie andere
Tierpfleger und -methoden. Aus diesen Gründen empfiehlt sich, bei der Versuchsplanung eine Akklimatisierungsphase
zu berücksichtigen.
Das perfekte Studiendesign für eine Akklimatisierungs-Untersuchung würde den Einsatz des Heimkäfigs des Tieres
unter Präsenz seiner Mitbewohner vorsehen, um die Verhaltensweisen zu erfassen. Ohne die Tiere zu stören, könnten
dennoch ausreichend Daten zur Untersuchung von Veränderungen über einen Zeitraum von 7 Tagen erhoben werden.
Rodent Big Brother (RBB) ist ein neuartiges System mit einem breiten Einsatzspektrum. RBB kann zur Beobachtung
von Rattenverhalten und Käfigplatzierung dienen, um zu untersuchen, ob anhand von Verhaltensweisen ein
Akklimatisierungszeitraum festgelegt werden kann.
Schlagwörter: Akklimatisierung, Rodent Big Brother, Transport, Tierwohl, Rattenverhalten.
Animal Technology and Welfare December 2016
Améliorer le bien-être des diamants mandarins par
le biais de l’enrichissement environnemental
Institut de la biodiversité, Santé animale et médecine comparative, Université de Glasgow,
Graham Kerr Building, Glasgow G12 9QQ
Correspondance: gordon.gray@glasgow.ac.uk
Cet article présente les modifications apportées par l’Université de Glasgow pour améliorer le bien-être de nos
diamants mandarins en leur offrant un environnement plus complexe. Il décrit la façon dont nous avons optimisé le
potentiel d’enrichissement au sein des cages afin de proposer aux oiseaux un plus grand choix d’activités et ainsi
d’améliorer leur qualité de vie. Par ailleurs, il étudie les impacts positifs qu’ont eu les aménagements apportés au
macro-environnement sur ces oiseaux, qui ont alors pu afficher un nombre varié de comportements naturels qui ne
sont habituellement pas obser vés dans un milieu de recherche.
Mots-clés: Diamants mandarins, environnement, bien-être, comportements naturels
Paper Summary Translations
Transmettre une culture de soins: comment gagner
l’amitié des gens et influencer ces derniers
UCB Celltech, 208 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire SL1 3WE
RSPCA, Service des animaux de laboratoire, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, West Sussex
RH13 9RS
*Correspondance: tania.boden@ucb.com
Bien que de nombreuses informations soient disponibles concernant d’éventuelles améliorations pouvant être
apportées aux procédures, à l’habitat, à l’élevage et aux soins, obtenir l’appui des collègues et mettre les choses
en pratique reste une tâche difficile. Cet article étudie la façon dont les technologues en santé animale et les
personnes désignées peuvent communiquer efficacement sur ces améliorations afin de contribuer à créer une culture
de soins positive au niveau local, et il présente des mesures qui ont pour objectif de favoriser le développement de
techniques de communication.
Mots-clés: Culture de soins, technologues en santé animale, personnes désignées, améliorations, techniques de
Paper Summary Translations
Enquête sur le transport des rats et analyse de leur
acclimatation à l’aide de nouveaux équipements
d’enregistrement supplémentaires au sein des
cages (Rodent Big Brother): examen
Université métropolitaine de Manchester, All Saints Building, All Saints, Manchester M15 6BH
Extrait d’une thèse de Master recherche rédigée sur le thème des comportements animaux
Ces dix dernières années, on s’est aperçu qu’une amélioration du bien-être animal permet d’obtenir de meilleurs
résultats et des données plus facilement reproductibles dans le cadre de différentes études. Le transport des
animaux depuis le fournisseur jusqu’aux installations expérimentales représente l’un des plus importants facteurs
de stress dans la vie des animaux puisqu’une fois arrivés au centre de recherche, ces derniers se retrouvent dans
un tout nouvel environnement présentant des odeurs et des sons entièrement différents de ceux auxquels ils étaient
habitués : une nouvelle cage, une nourriture différente, éventuellement de nouveaux compagnons au sein des cages,
ainsi qu’un nouvel enrichissement environnemental assorti à un nouveau personnel et à différentes méthodes
d’élevage. C’est pourquoi il est important de prendre en compte l’acclimatation des animaux lors de la conception
d’une expérience.
Le plan d’étude parfait pour une enquête sur l’acclimatation des animaux consiste à utiliser la cage à laquelle est
habitué l’animal pour enregistrer les différents comportements, à maintenir la présence de ses compagnons (sans
pour autant déranger les animaux) et à rassembler une quantité de données suffisante pour pouvoir étudier les
changements observés sur une période de 7 jours. Le nouveau système Rodent Big Brother (RBB) peut être utilisé
pour un nombre varié d’applications, notamment pour analyser le comportement des rats et la position des cages
afin de déterminer si ces comportements permettent de définir une période d’acclimatation.
Mots-clés: Acclimatation, Rodent Big Brother, Transport, Bien-être, Comportement des rats.
December 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
Mejora del bienestar de los diamantes mandarín a
través del enriquecimiento ambiental
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, Universidad de Glasgow,
Graham Kerr Building, Glasgow G12 9QQ
Correspondencia: gordon.gray@glasgow.ac.uk
Este artículo describe las alteraciones realizadas por la Universidad de Glasgow para mejorar el bienestar de
nuestros diamantes mandarín ofreciéndoles un entorno habitable más complejo. Describe cómo hemos maximizado
el potencial de enriquecimiento dentro de las jaulas, con una mayor posibilidad de elección de actividades y, por
tanto, una mejor calidad de vida. Asimismo, explica el impacto positivo que los ajustes realizados al macroentorno
han tenido en nuestros diamantes mandarín, permitiéndoles mostrar una serie de comportamientos naturales que
normalmente no se daría en un entorno de investigación.
Palabras clave: Diamantes mandarín, entorno, bienestar, comportamientos naturales
Paper Summary Translations
Comunicación de la Cultura del cuidado: Cómo
conseguir amigos y e influir en las personas
UCB Celltech, 208 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire SL1 3WE
RSPCA Research Animals Department, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, West Sussex RH13 9RS
*Correspondencia: tania.boden@ucb.com
Existe mucha información sobre posibles optimizaciones de procedimientos, instalaciones, cría y cuidado, pero
conseguir un compromiso por parte de los compañeros y una implementación de prácticas no es siempre una tarea
sencilla. Este estudio debate cómo los tecnólogos de animales y las personas designadas pueden argumentar de
forma eficaz una optimización que redunde en una Cultura del cuidado local positiva que establezca algunas acciones
correctivas en pos del desarrollo de capacidades comunicativas.
Palabras clave: Cultura del cuidado, Tecnólogos de animales, personas designadas, optimización, capacidades
Paper Summary Translations
Investigación sobre la aclimatación de ratas
durante su transporte utilizando equipos de
grabación nuevos situados en el lateral de la jaula
(el Gran Hermano de los Roedores): Análisis
Manchester Metropolitan University, All Saints Building, All Saints, Manchester M15 6BH
Extracto de una tesina de máster sobre el comportamiento animal
En la última década, ha quedado de manifiesto que una mejora del bienestar animal ofrece mejores resultados y
datos más reproducibles de los estudios. El transporte de animales del proveedor a los laboratorios de experimentos
es uno de los mayores inductores de estrés en la vida de un animal. Cuando los animales llegan a los laboratorios
de pruebas se enfrentan a un entorno nuevo con un olor y un sonido completamente diferentes: nuevas jaulas,
comida distinta, posiblemente nuevos compañeros de jaula, distintas actividades de enriquecimiento y distinto
personal y métodos de cría. Por estos motivos la aclimatación debería tenerse en cuenta a la hora de diseñar un
El diseño de un estudio perfecto para una investigación sobre la aclimatación debería contemplar la utilización de la
jaula donde viven los animales para registrar comportamientos, con sus compañeros de jaula presentes, pero sin
molestarles, posibilitando la recogida de suficientes datos para investigar posibles cambios durante un periodo de
7 días. El Gran Hermano de los Roedores (RBB, por sus siglas en inglés) es un innovador sistema que tiene una
amplia gama de aplicaciones. RBB puede utilizarse para observar comportamientos y posiciones de jaulas para
analizar si los comportamientos son válidos para determinar un periodo de aclimatación.
Palabras clave: Aclimatación, Gran Hermano de los Roedores, Transporte, Bienestar, comportamiento de Ratas.
Animal Technology and Welfare December 2016
Potenziamento del benessere dei diamanti
mandarini mediante l’arricchimento ambientale
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow,
Graham Kerr Building, Glasgow G12 9QQ, Regno Unito
Corrispondenza: gordon.gray@glasgow.ac.uk
Questo articolo descriverà le alterazioni apportate dalla University of Glasgow per accrescere il benessere dei nostri
diamanti mandarini, fornendo loro un ambiente più complesso con cui interagire. Spiegherà come è stato
massimizzato il potenziale di arricchimento all’interno delle gabbie, concedendo ai diamantini una più ampia scelta
di attività e migliorando, così, la loro qualità di vita. Inoltre, discuterà come gli aggiustamenti effettuati al macro-
ambiente abbiano avuto un effetto positivo sui diamantini, consentendo loro di mostrare una gamma di
comportamenti naturali che, normalmente, non sarebbero visibili in un ambiente di ricerca.
Parole chiave: Diamanti mandarini, ambiente, benessere, comportamenti naturali
Paper Summary Translations
Comunicare la cultura della cura: come influire sugli
altri e farseli amici
UCB Celltech, 208 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire SL1 3WE, Regno Unito
RSPCA Research Animals Department, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, West Sussex
RH13 9RS, Regno Unito
*Corrispondenza: tania.boden@ucb.com
Esiste una pletora di informazioni sul potenziale raffinamento di procedure, stabulazione, allevamento e cura, tuttavia
non sempre è facile garantire l’adesione dei colleghi o favorirne l’effettiva implementazione. Questo articolo delinea
come instaurare una comunicazione efficace tra stabularisti e responsabili specifici in merito a tale raffinamento,
che contribuirà a generare una “cultura della cura” locale positiva, definendo determinati punti d’azione per
promuovere lo sviluppo delle competenze comunicative.
Parole chiave: Cultura della cura, Stabularisti, Responsabili specifici, Raffinamenti, competenze comunicative
Paper Summary Translations
Analisi della valutazione dell’effetto del trasporto
sull’acclimatazione dei ratti mediante l’uso di un
nuovo sistema di monitoraggio in gabbia (Rodent
Big Brother)
Manchester Metropolitan University, All Saints Building, All Saints, Manchester M15 6BH,
Regno Unito
Testo estratto da una tesi sul comportamento animale per un MSC (laurea specialistica)
Nell’ultimo decennio si è notato che il potenziamento del benessere animale produce risultati migliori, oltre a
consentire una più alta riproducibilità dei dati degli studi. Il trasporto degli animali dal fornitore al centro sperimentale
è uno dei maggiori fattori di stress nella vita di un animale, in quanto, al loro arrivo nella struttura di ricerca, si
ritrovano di fronte a un ambiente nuovo, con suoni e odori completamenti nuovi: nuove gabbie, cibo diverso,
compagni di gabbia possibilmente nuovi, un arricchimento assortito, nonché svariati responsabili e metodi di
allevamento. Ciò spiega perché si dovrebbe prendere in considerazione l’acclimatazione durante l’ideazione di un
Il modello di studio ideale per la valutazione dell’acclimatazione vedrebbe l’uso della gabbia originale dell’animale
per il monitoraggio dei comportamenti, con la presenza di compagni di gabbia lasciati indisturbati, raccogliendo
comunque dati sufficienti per rilevare i cambiamenti nell’arco di un periodo di 7 giorni. Rodent Big Brother (RBB) è
un nuovo sistema che offre un’ampia gamma di applicazioni. RBB può servire a osservare i comportamenti dei ratti
e la posizione della gabbia per scoprire se i comportamenti possono aiutare a determinare un periodo di
Parole chiave: Acclimatazione, Rodent Big Brother, Trasporto, Benessere, Comportamento dei ratti.
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.
Transmission pathways: protecting your
Sychem Ltd, Highcove House, Victory Close, Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire SO53 4BU
Wickham Laboratories Ltd, Hoeford Point, Barwell Lane, Gosport, Hampshire PO13 0AU
Correspondence: info@sychem.co.uk
Adapted from a Congress 2016 workshop presentation
December 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
Did they wash their hands after …?
Going to the lavatory…
Did you wash your hands after …? = spread of infectious organisms and disease
Did they? Did you?
Hand Washing
Which may lead to
40 percent of hospital infections have been attributed
to cross infection via the hands of healthcare workers.
Shocking, considering that these are trained
professionals in hand washing!
Respirator y infections (e.g. pneumonia) and
diarrhoeal diseases (e.g. cholera) are the cause of
almost 40 percent of child deaths globally. Almost 90
percent of these lives would be saved simply by
initiating better hygiene including regular hand
washing with soap.
So why are we talking about hands and spreading of
infections in the Biomedical Sector?
We must protect the animals in our care through the
environment we create. We need to ask ourselves
what could happen if there is a breach in the
biosecurity system?
Case study
Introducing Wickham Laboratories
G contract research organisation
G established 1962 in Wickham, Hampshire
G moved to Gosport, Hampshire 2010
G >100 employees
G principally QC testing laboratory
Biosecurity processes and
G barrier breakdown
G barrier unit = full change
conventional caging
respirator y Personal Protective Equipment
Figure 1. Conventional caging.
Cleaning chemicals routine
G walls and floors etc., Sodium hypochlorite and
G neutralisation toxins Virkon and heat
G cage washer Cachel Neutral detergent
G injection site surgical spirit
G personal Sanitisation Spirigel alcohol gel and
Lynx or similar!
Barrier breakdown
In September 2015, a discussion was started about
the unexpected results and possible consequences of
a biosecurity breach in the laboratories.
G one strain of sentinels had mouse parvo virus
G confirmator y PCR
G investigate possible anomalies
Coccidia are a subclass of microscopic oligate single-
celled intra-cellular parasites i.e. cannot reproduce
outside their host cell, meaning that the parasites
reproduction is entirely reliant on intracellular
resources. Coccidian parasites infect the intestinal
tracts of animals including, rabbits and Guinea Pigs.
A sub-clinical infection previously known to be present
G never detected at screening
G began to see clinical manifestation
G sent samples to screening laboratory
G Coccidiosis detected 09 September 2015
G Medicated diet
restriction on use of antibiotics
Cost of breakdown
G financial cost
£80k lost revenue
£35k returned to customer
G reputational
bad breakdown with no obvious source
good seen as open and positive reaction
G welfare
supply not taken
G “Water does not really concern me”
G water to animals is filtered
G water for reagents bottled
G water for cleaning has chemicals added
G water sample for shower comes back with
Legionella detected
G shower out of action for 4 weeks until cleaned up
G caused problems for staff movement
G now water does concern me!
Remedial action
G depopulation of mouse strain
G full clean down
filter change
physical HVAC decontamination
G cage wash decontamination
chemical and heat
G rationalisation on cleaning agents
hard surfaces i.e. walls, floors etc.
Sychem control
G neutralisation toxins
cypochlorite and heat
cage washer
Injection site
Surgical spirit
personal sanitisation
Sychem Control hand sanitizer
Sychem body wash
G environmental monitoring
not helpful
G screened mice from current stock
all negative for MPV
G cleaned again
Changes to procedure
G strains allocated to specific rooms
stock and test always allocated to same room
G weekly to monthly to 3 monthly health screening
now to 3 monthly
G rolling sentinel stock
complicated to manage
G archiving of faecal samples for investigation
even more complex than sentinel stock!
G review of sanitation regimes is ongoing
G you still need good process
previously we are using hypochlorite
Figure 2. Animal technician wearing standard PPE.
Consideration of the 4 Transmission Pathways is
critical in maintaining good Environmental Hygiene.
settle plates 1 or 0 cfu (cfu= colony-forming unit
is a unit used to estimate the number of
viable bacteria or fungal cells in a sample)
G change to Sychem
everything is cleaned
settle plates 30 cfu
G cleaned again properly
settle plates 0 cfu
Who is responsible?
G training of staff
G effective quarantine for animals
G periodic health screening & Environmental
G hand washing and sanitisation
G staff and service personnel quarantine restrictions
between facilities and departments
G showering into a facility
G cage cleaning frequency (Autoclaving where
G correct selection of caging and animal housing
G effective cleaning and disinfection regimes
G suitable use of decontamination technology and
G ensure all relied upon equipment is suitably
Transmission Pathways are key routes of transmission
of bacteria, viruses and fungi. They are the methods of
transport used by micro-organisms to travel from one
area to another.
What are the Pathways?
Performing best practice every time is essential when
cleaning and disinfecting your facility. Products will only
be effective if they are used in the right situation and
in the correct manner. Similarly, per forming cleaning
and disinfection processes correctly can always be
improved by using the best product. Biosecurity is as
strong as the weakest link!
It only requires one break in the chain to expose the
Once the risk occurs overcoming the issue becomes a
reaction that could affect your animal welfare, staff
welfare, finances and reputation.
Managing environmental transmission pathways plays
a key role in reducing your biosecurity risk.
1. Training and Education
Understand why the transmission pathway
represents a risk.
Identify current processes and products used.
Consequences if things go wrong.
2. Analyse current products
Are they the best available?
Do they do everything that I need them to do?
Are they being used in the right place?
Are they being used at the right time?
Are they being used by the right people?
If not;
Why not?
3. Analyse current process
Can it be improved ?
Is it being adhered to?
Utilise hygiene monitoring to quantify effectiveness.
Doing what we’ve always done is not necessarily
Weinstein, R.A. (1991). Epidemiology and control of
nosocomial infections in adult intensive care units:
Proceedings of the Third Decennial International
Conference on Nosocomial Infections. The American
Journal of Medicine, Volume 91, Issue 3, Supplement 2,
Pages S1-S333
The World Health Report 2007 A safer future: global
public health security in the 21st centur y. World Health
Organization ISBN 978 92 4 156344 4 ISSN 1020-3311
G identify the risks associated with your current
processes and procedures
G suggest potential improvements that can be made
to reduce the risk (process, product)
Do present United Kingdom regulations
covering experiments using laboratory
animals strike the right balance between
the interests of human health and
laboratory animal welfare?
Medical Research Council, 1 Houldsworth Terrace, Black Bear Lane, Newmarket,
Suffolk CB8 0JX
Correspondence: rachelbs60@hotmail.com
This essay will discuss whether or not the United
Kingdom’s regulations covering experiments using
laborator y animals strike the right balance between
human health and animal welfare. It will describe
some of the regulations and legislation involved and
how this is beneficial for laboratory animals protected
under these regulations.
Animal research has been conducted for years but has
only been allowed to continue in the United Kingdom
because the government have developed over many
years animal protection laws and now have in place
the strictest regulations to ensure a practical
approach is taken with animal welfare in
consideration; The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act,
1986 (ASPA) has the implementation of the 3Rs
Reduction, Replacement and Refinement at its core.
Facilities implementing the 3Rs combine animal
welfare with good science and ensuring best practice
in the facility. In some cases the 3Rs will be used
together when finding alternatives rather than using
animals in experiments. Dolan, (1999) states that
Reduction means lowering the number of animals
used to obtain information, Replacement means
finding other scientific methods to replace the use of
Refinement means the development of ways
to decrease the incidence of severity of inhumane
procedures applied to those animals which are used in
the experiment.
Early legislation, The Cruelty to Animals Act, 1876
stated that should the experiment occur, the animal
must be anaesthetised, used only once (though several
procedures regarded as part of the same experiment
were permitted) and killed as soon as the study was
Therefore this law was established to ensure
animals used in experiments do not have to go through
any more unnecessar y harm, pain, distress or suffering
so repeating experiments unnecessarily is not good
practice or humane for the animals involved.
The Animal Welfare Act, 2006 promotes the five
freedoms which in detail provides the animals with their
essential needs and wants for survival;
G the freedom to be housed in a suitable environment
G freedom from hunger and thirst
G the freedom to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
G the freedom to be housed with, or apart from, other
G the freedom to be protected from pain, suffering,
injury and disease.
With these five freedoms in place the staff caring for
the animals in research facilities can ensure that the
animals can receive the best care and the welfare
should be of a high standard not only to ensure the
animal’s wellbeing but to also help obtain the best
science results from achieving this.
December 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
AS-ET Special Travel Bursary Essay Entries
These regulations are in place for the research and
testing facilities to use as guidance for what they are
permitted to do when using animals for experimental
purposes. Do these regulations work in the United
Kingdom? Yes they do but Why?
These regulations covering the experiments performed
on laboratory animals give a structured guidance as to
what researchers can do to the animals but with
obvious limitations. Only certain species can be used
for experimental purposes and if there are alternatives
then researchers must use those alternatives where
they can. The Home Office inspect the establishments
to ensure there are no infringements of the regulations
in ASPA and or the conditions of the licenses issued
under ASPA. The United Kingdom’s regulations covering
experiments using laboratory animals are there to
protect the animals and to ensure there is no
unnecessary pain, distress, suffering or lasting harm
caused to them. The UK has more animal legislation
than any other country so animal welfare standards are
very high in all establishments keeping, breeding and
researching on laboratory animals.
The RSPCA, (2016) states that animal experiments are
one of the traditional approaches to study how human
and animal bodies work (in health and illness) and for
testing medicines and chemicals.
Scientists who use
animals argue that there is currently no other way to
achieve their scientific objectives and that any pain or
distress caused to the animals is outweighed by the
potential benefits of their research. It does depend on
the type of research that is to be performed on the
animals and also the species that will be used for
these experiments.
Animal models are similar to humans and so
sometimes the human being is not always the ideal
model for studying some aspects of human biology, this
then makes the animal model the better choice to use.
A major area for research is aimed at developing new
vaccines and medicines for common and rare diseases
and illnesses that are becoming more widespread
every day. This research cannot be carried out using
non-animal methods. To improve human knowledge of
anatomy, physiology and how diseases work.
The UK law that controls animal experiments is
supposed to reflect the justification and necessity to
use animals. It requires that the likely harms to the
animals are weighed against the potential benefits of
the project, that there are no alternatives available,
and that the numbers and suffering of animals are
minimised (extracted from RSPCA, 2016).
Trying to determine the right balance between the
interests of human health and laborator y animal
welfare all depends on how beneficial these types of
experiments will be. The use of animals in research
and testing is still a controversial topic. Can it be
justified to use animals for this purpose? In some
cases, yes and in others no. The majority of humans do
consider themselves as being more superior than other
species of animals. Humans have always tried to find
new ways to survive in the world against every other
living species on this planet. Legally drugs need to be
tested before being trialled on human beings, animal
testing has become a crucial part of science so
humans can expand their knowledge and
understanding of how we function. If animal
experiments were to be stopped in the United Kingdom
this would be unethical as this would have a dramatic
af fect on those patients who need treatments
desperately. YG Topics, (2016) state that the UK has
gone further than any other country to implement
thorough ethical frameworks when it comes to animals
in research.
With this in mind, as the UK has strict
regulations that researchers have to follow, animal
welfare should not be taken for granted. There are
some negative points to using animals for experimental
purposes; expense (housing, feeding and looking after
the animals), wastage of animals that do not get used
or cannot be used for whatever reason (example; wrong
genotype, age, wrong gender and excess so surplus
animals where they have been over bred). Time (the
time it takes to establish colonies). Unfortunately,
experiments do take time to plan and obtain the
animals to use as well for these experiments. All these
points mentioned do give a balance to why in the
interests of human health we use animals for
experiments. Welfare standards and regulations are
strict and must be followed in the United Kingdom
therefore laboratory animals receive some of the best
welfare care available. So yes, the present regulations
covering experiments using laboratory animals does
have the right balance for the interests of human health
while still promoting good animal welfare within the
Home Office (2014). Guidance on the Operations of the
Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
eration_of_ASPA.pdf (Accessed 10.06.16).
Dolan, K. (1999). Ethics: Animals and Science. Blackwell
Science Ltd.
The Cruelty to Animals Act, 1876. Wikipedia (April,
2016 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruelty_to_Animals_
Act_1876 (Accessed on 10.06.16).
Animal Welfare Act (2006). The National Archives (2006)
(Accessed 10.06.16).
Royal Society of Protection of Animals (2016) Are
animal experiments necessary and can they be justified?
eanimalexperimentsnecessary (Accessed on 10.06.16).
YG Topics (2016) Should Animals be used in Research?
used-in-research#q2 (Accessed 10.06.16).
AS-ET Special Travel Bursar y Essay Entries
G GOV.UK (May, 2016). Research and Testing Using
Animals. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/research-and-
testing-using-animals (Accessed 10.06.16).
G Sirois, M. (2005) Laboratory Animal Medicine: Principles
and Procedures. Mosby Inc.
G Speaking of Research (2016). Animal Research
Regulations in the UK. https://speakingofresearch.com/
facts/animal-research-regulations-in-the-uk/ (Accessed
G Wolfensohn, S. and Lloyd, M. (1998). Handbook of
Laboratory Animal: Management and Welfare 2nd Edition.
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
G Wolfensohn, S. and Lloyd, M. (2006). Handbook of
Laboratory Animal: Management and Welfare 3rd Edition.
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Do present United Kingdom regulations
covering experiments using laboratory
animals strike the right balance between
the interests of human health and
laboratory animal welfare?
Agenda Life Sciences, PO Box 24, Hull, Yorkshire HU12 8YJ
Correspondence: rachy_coop@hotmail.co.uk
There is no simple yes or no answer to whether the
regulations have the right balance between good
welfare versus human health; partly because people’s
ideas on good welfare can differ significantly.
The United Kingdom has legislation that protects both
animals and staff working within research facilities,
these include:
G The Protection of Animals Act, 1911
G Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986 (ASPA)
G Code of Practice (CoP)
G Veterinary Surgeons Act, 1966
G Animal Welfare Act, 1966
G Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974
G Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations,
The Code of Practice (CoP) underpins the ASPA
guidelines, so the Code of Practice is only guidance but
if you do not abide by it you have to demonstrate why
you have not. This may be due to a veterinary
intervention or a species specific need, for example if
you had mole rats while they are rats they would be
treated outside of the CoP but still covered by ASPA.
The CoP underpins ASPA and is the foundation on
which care and enrichment programmes are developed,
more so now with the introduction of the EU Directive
which gives more details for housing and care than the
previous CoP. While these legislations are in place the
staff caring for the animals should ensure that they are
looked after with compassion and empathy.
The most important piece of legislation that covers the
welfare of the animals in laboratories would be Animals
(Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986 (ASPA) this stems
from the Cruelty of Animals Act, 1876 and the
Protection of Animals Act (1911) and focuses
specifically on animals in laboratories, ASPA covers
most aspects of animals housed and includes
regulated procedures in laboratories. Each section of
ASPA is concerned with a specific area of legislation on
the use of animals in research, these include:
Personal and project licences
The personal licence will cover staff per forming
regulated procedures, it will also cover species that the
technicians can perform procedures on.
The project licence covers the experiment as a whole
and will also include the estimated severity of the
experiment. Most often these will be: Mild, Moderate
and Severe. The project license holder should make
every effort to keep the severity of the procedures to a
minimum. If the project exceeds its severity it will be in
breach of the license and could therefore be subject to
investigation by the Home Office.
Designated establishments
Having a designated area for housing laborator y
animals ensures they are housed in an appropriate
macro environment. Before this piece of legislation was
written animals could be housed in offices, which
would also impact on the health of the staff, so having
designated areas also aligns with the Health and
Safety at Work Act 1974.
G licences and designation cer tificates: general
G additional controls
G the inspectorate and the committee
G breeding or supply of the animals for research
G appropriate methods of humane killing
In September 2010 the EU adopted Directive
Animal Technology and Welfare December 2016
AS-ET Special Travel Bursar y Essay Entries
2010/63/EU which updates and replaces the 1986
Directive 86/609/EEC on the protection of animals
used for scientific purposes. The aim of this new
Directive is to strengthen the current legislation and
improve on the welfare of animals that will be used for
research purposes as well as to firmly anchor the
principle of the 3Rs, to Replace, Reduce and Refine the
use of animals, within EU legislation. The Directive
2010/63/EU took full effect on 1 January 2013.
The 3Rs are highlighted in ASPA and the Home Office
Code of Practice, and facilities are actively encouraged
to comply with the 3Rs where possible.
The 3Rs are:
Reduce: Attempts should be made to reduce the
number of animals used in experiments which will
be helped by refining the techniques used when
conducting experiments.
Refine: Techniques should be refined so that the
number of animals can be reduced when conducting
experiments. This can also lead into animals being
replaced from experiments.
Replace: Where possible a replacement for animals
within experiments should be explored, this may not
be possible for all aspects of experimentation even
though there have been significant improvements to
finding an alternative sometimes the only way to get
feasible results that will enable new treatments to
become available will be to use animals to test if
the treatment will aid in recovery.
All facilities have a member of staff who is the Named
Animal Care and Welfare (NACWO) and at least one
Named Veterinary Surgeon (NVS); some facilities will
work with a conglomerate of NVS staff that will cover
different facilities. The NVS staff will be on 24 hour call
should any animal health issues arise out of normal
working hours. Facilities will also have a Named
Training and Competency Officer (NTCO) who will
ensure all staff members are appropriately trained and
competent to perform even the simplest tasks, which
again will ensure the animals welfare is thought out
before procedures are performed.
Good husbandry and care of the animals is one of the
most important factors for animal welfare. This will
come from having staff that have a genuine love of
animals and wish to give them the best life possible
while in their care, however being an animal lover may
also have its draw back as they want to give the
animals space and extras which would increase the
potential of harm to the staff, for example rat cages
cannot be too heavy but bigger cages will be more
complex, therefore there should be a good balance for
the staff to be able to provide the animals with the best
care and caging to suit their needs but there should
also be equipment provided to aid staff in doing this
while keeping themselves safe and unharmed. This can
be in the form of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
or a step ladder to reach cages safely. For this staff
should be able to refer to the Health and Safety at Work
Act, 1974 as well as feel comfortable enough to speak
with the health and safety representative at their work
should they feel uncomfortable about any tasks that
they feel may compromise their own safety vs. the
welfare of the animals within their care.
There will also be a COSHH (Control of Substances
Hazardous to Health) rating included in the
experimental design that will include any suspected
side ef fects from coming into contact with the
compound. For example if the compound were to have
suspected side effects on embryonic forms females
that are pregnant or males of certain ages may
reconsider working with this compound and let others
complete the work who are less at risk of being
effected by said side effects.
Animals are used for a wide variety of medicines and
other products for both human and animal subjects,
however before animals are included in capacity study
there must be evidence that the researchers have
explored all other options and there is no alternative
but to include animals, if this is found to be the case
there should also be equal justification in using the
species selected for the experiment as well as
evidence to support the fact that all options have been
considered and followed before the Project Licence is
granted to perform an experiment.
Animals that are to be used for experimental reasons
should be obtained from a designated breeding or
supply establishment these species include:
G mouse
G rat
G guinea-pig
G hamster
G rabbit
G dog
G cat
G non-human primate
Staff involved in regulated procedures must also be in
possession of a Home Office Personal License and
have had training to ensure they are competent in the
procedures prior to them performing any procedures.
ASPA states a regulated procedure as follows:
“(1)Subject to the provision of this section, a
regulated procedure” for the purposes of this Act
means any experimental or other scientific procedure
applied to a protected animal which may have the
effect of causing that animal pain, suffering, distress
or lasting harm.”
Where possible animals will be housed in social
AS-ET Special Travel Bursary Essay Entries
groups, however exceptions will be made e.g. if they
are a solitary species then this will be how they are
housed, or if for experimental reason Project License
states that they should be singly housed.
Before the EU guidelines female rabbits were
individually housed, now this can only occur as part of
a regulated procedure, this would be if the researcher
would need to keep a food consumption record then
every effort should be made to keep the animal as
comfortable and stress free as possible and possibly
have more human interaction, this again would depend
on the species, if the animals are better off having less
human interaction then increasing the interaction would
only cause them more stress on the proviso that it will
not affect the results of the experiment. Care is also
taken to ensure that the environment is kept as stable
as possible and the animals are provided with
enrichment items so that they will exhibit natural
species specific behaviours, such as foraging for food
and nest making.
This is where a balance would have to be thought of
and the question asked:
If the interaction will not have any effect on the welfare
of the animal but will impact negatively on the results
of the experiment, would it really be worth putting the
animal through the stress of being housed alone and
not getting the desired outcome when the experiment
come to an end?
Animal research is also of benefit for patients who may
receive pioneering new medicines and treatments.
There are however a few alternatives to the use of
animals in research, these include:
In Vitro: A process performed or taking place in a
test tube, culture dish, or elsewhere outside a living
Ex Vitro: In science, ex vivo refers to experimentation
or measurements performed in or on tissue from an
organism in an external environment with minimal
alteration of natural conditions.
In Situ: In medical work In Situ describes work done
in the structure of a patient.
In Silico: Is the direct use of computer simulation in
the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a
disease. More specifically it is medicine that is
characterised by modelling, simulation, and
visualisation of biological and medical processes in
computers with the goal of simulating real biological
processes in a virtual environment.
Micro-organisms: Micro-organisms can be
harnessed for uses such as creating steroids and
treating skin diseases
Human studies: To conduct research with human
subjects, you must be conducting research and
obtaining information from human subjects.
Before conducting human trials the treatments should
pass all safety tests and have willing patients to
participate in clinical trials. These will generally be
people suffering from specific diseases or disorders
and should vary in ages, sex and severity of the
targeted experiment. This will then give the treatments
a good chance at working, during the experimental
process animals of both sexes may be used, if the
treatments will be used by both sexes, however some
treatments will be for a specific age or sex group, in
which case if the new treatment is for a male human
then more likely than not only male animals will be
To conclude, I believe that the current balance between
animal welfare and human health is adequately
covered on both sides of the legislation for both the
animals and the human staff involved in the
experimentation. There is a lot covering the welfare of
the animals while in the care of the staff but equally
there is a lot covering the welfare of the staff as they
care for the animals.
In 2013, King’s College London (KCL) unveiled a state-
of-the-art Zebrafish (Danio rerio) research facility, the
largest stand-alone system in Europe with the capacity
to house 3500 tanks. In keeping with principles of the
3Rs, KCL staff set out to reduce the overall number of
Zebrafish required for effective research by improving
sur vival rates with lar val rearing. Through the
application of modern aquaculture and husbandr y
the focus turned to nutrition
in the
nursery including:
G live diets versus processed feeds
G feeding regimes frequency via automated feeder
(Tritone by Tecniplast) and quantity
G nutritional content
Moving to the new Zebrafish Facility gave staff an
exciting opportunity to review existing larval rearing
protocols and experiment with new ones. Changes
were trialled within the nursery that were designed to
increase survival rates of fry while also reducing
technician workload. A comparison of larval feed and
Originally presented at:
IAT Congress 2016
Survival of the fittest: Zebrafish larval
King’s College London, Zebrafish Facility, Biological Services Unit, School of Biomedical
Sciences, Guys Campus, London SE1 1UL
*Correspondence: sanjay.jani@kcl.ac.uk
Winner of IAT Congress 2016 Best Poster Award
sponsored by LBS (serving Biotechnology) Ltd
December 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
Figure 1. Brine shrimp (Artemia franciscana naupli)
hatchery, harvested daily and fed to juvenile Zebrafish.
Poster Presentations
maintenance regimes between 2012 and 2015 can be
seen below:
Figure 2. L-type saltwater rotifer (Brachionus plicatlis)
culture, harvested daily and fed Rotigrow Plus.
Life Stage 2012 2015
1. Fr y entered the nursery at a
stocking density of 50 per tank.
2. Fr y fed 3 x per day with a
powdered dry diet, and once per
day with paramecium.
3. Debris removed daily.
1. Fr y entered the nursery at a stocking
density of 30 per tank.
2. Fr y fed twice per day with L-type
Marine Rotifiers enriched with
Rotigrow Plus.
3. No cleaning.
1. Stocking density was reduced to
25 per tank based on size.
2. Juveniles fed 3 x per days with
powdered dry diet and 2 x per
day with Brine Shrimp (Fig. 4).
3. Tanks siphoned twice weekly.
1. Stocking density was maintained at
50 per tank.
2. Juveniles fed 3 x per days with
Gemma Micro 150, and 2 x per day
with Ar temia.
3. No cleaning.
1. Stocking density was reduced to
15 per tank.
2. Sub-adults fed 3 x per day with
a mixed dry diet, and 2 x per
day with Brine Shrimp.
3. Tanks siphoned weekly.
1. Stocking density was maintained at
50 per tank.
2. Sub-adults fed 4 x per day with
Gemma Micro 300 and 2 x per day
with Brine Shrimp.
3. No cleaning.
Growth rate study
Six 3.5-litre tanks were set up and filled with 400ml
system water adjusted to a salinity of 2ppt. Into each
tank 50 wild-type Zebrafish fry (AB wild-type strain)
were added that had randomly selected from over 50
Feeding regime 5-12 days post-
fertilisation (dpf):
3 randomly selected tanks were fed with dry diet
(Gemma 75) 3 times per day. 3 randomly selected
tanks were fed twice per day with rotifers enriched with
Rotigrow Plus (Figure 3).
Figure 3. Rotifer culture fed to larval Zebrafish. Female
eggsacks highlighted, with residual Rotigrow Plus.
Figure 4. Artemia franciscana nauplii, fed to juvenile
Zebrafish and hatched over a 48 hour period.
At 12dpf all six fr y tanks were moved onto system
water flow with a steady drip. All tanks were then fed
and maintained the same according to the 2015
nursery protocol. At set intervals (5dpf, 11dpf, 21dpf,
31dpf and 61dpf) 10 fry from each tank were randomly
selected to be anaesthetised and photographed. Their
length (mm) measured using ImageJ software. At the
conclusion of the study, the survival rate of each tank
was calculated.
Changes to the larval rearing protocols at KCL have
brought about significant improvements in survival
during the crucial early stages from 5dpf through to
metamorphosis at approx. 21dpf. In Figure 5, it can be
seen that the consistency of survival rates were also
greatly improved. This enabled research staff to be
Poster Presentations
confident of the number of adult fish they will receive
and consequently reduce the number of fry initially
entering the nursery.
In 2012, there was a limit restricting the number of fry
per stock to 150.
In 2015, due to the increase viability the average
number of fry per stock entering the nursery was 53,
representing a reduction in animal use of two thirds. As
can be seen in Figure 7, fish fed the rotifers during
larval stages had a significantly increased growth rates
between 5 and 12dpf. This size difference was
maintained throughout their development in the
nursery, highlighting the importance of the early life
stage nutrition. A further advantage that came with the
new protocol was a noticeable reduction in husbandry
workload for staff, whilst enabling an approximately
50% increase in nursery throughput of 23,104 fry in
2012 to 34,510 fry in 2015.
Figure 5. Nursery survival rates, calculated over a two
year period.
Figure 6. Growth rate comparison, examining larval
development using marine rotifers or dry diet.
Figure 7. 5dpf fry introduced to a female rotifer.
At KCL, we improved our nursery survival rates and
achieved this through a combination of the use of
processed and live diets. By refining our feeding
regimes we have managed to increase our larval
survival rates from an average of 70% to 90% since the
introduction of the new nursery protocol. This has
resulted in the reduction of the number of animals put
into the nurser y by research staff, in line with the
principles of the 3Rs.
This is part of a continuing programme of refinements
at the KCL Zebrafish Facility. Future projects we are
planning to investigate include:
The use of fresh water rotifers
as an alternative to
Artemia and salt water rotifers.
Establishing a functioning fresh water rotifer
protocol with enough turnover with the aim to
replace all Artemia feeding to all fish in the facility.
Currently we are trialling a new Zebrafish specific
processed diet that has recently come into the
market and hope to have results in the upcoming 3
We would like to thank Isma Ali at the KCL Nikon
Imaging Centre for her assistance with our live imaging
work and Dr Andy Symonds, part of the MRC
Developmental Neuroscience Division of KCL for his
assistance with the mounting and preparation of
samples. We would also like to thank Ken Applebee for
his encouragement and support on this project, plus
Tecniplast UK and Skretting UK as suppliers.
Wilson, C. (2012). Aspects of larval rearing. ILAR Journal,
53(2), 169–178. org/10.1093/ilar.53.2.169
Ulloa, P.E., Iturra, P., Neira, R. and Araneda, C. (2011).
Zebrafish as a model organism for nutrition and growth:
Towards comparative studies of nutritional genomics
applied to aquacultured fishes. Reviews in Fish Biology
and Fisheries, 21(4), 649–666. http://doi.org/10.1007/
Poster Presentations
Lawrence, C., James, A., and Mobley, S. (2015).
Successful Replacement of Ar temia salina nauplii with
Marine Rotifers (Brachionus plicatilis) in the Diet of
Preadult Zebrafish (Danio rerio). Zebrafish, 12(5),
366–371. http://doi.org/10.1089/zeb.2015.1118
Aoyama, Y., Moriya, N., Tanaka, S., Taniguchi, T.,
Hosokawa, H. and Maegawa, S. (2015). A Novel Method
for Rearing Zebrafish by Using Freshwater Rotifers
(Brachionus calyciflorus). Zebrafish, 00(00),
150504071741004. http://doi.org/10.1089/zeb.
December 2016 Animal Technology and Welfare
Assessing husbandry requirements of
Zebrafish (Danio rerio) and Medaka
(Oryzias latipes) using background
literature and comparative information
The Sanger Institute, Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
CB10 1SA
*Correspondence: sb47@sanger.ac.uk
Zebrafish are the most common species of fish used
for research in the UK. However, the species Medaka is
establishing itself as a complimentary species to the
Zebrafish. Despite having similar husbandr y
requirements and physiology, there are areas where
development differs. This requires a species specific
regime to optimise growth, development and reliably
ensure the welfare of the fish. The purpose of this
study was to compare how Medaka responded to a
husbandry regime used for Zebrafish so as to inform
and develop an optimal husbandry regime for Medaka.
In this study Zebrafish were raised alongside Medaka
to track their development over three months. Some
regime changes were made when necessary to ensure
the welfare of the fish. The study indicated that Medaka
have the capacity to grow to maturity faster but require
a lower stocking density to do so.
Zebrafish: A freshwater omnivorous and highly social
species. Commonly found in shallow and slow moving
water of temperatures between 14-33˚C. One of most
common research fish models. Close genetic homology
to humans. High reproductive rates