Current industry trends and expectations place a high priority on the importance of species-specific psychological well-being as a routine part of the animal care and use program. The ongoing challenge for animal care and use programs is how to remain compliant with a variety of relevant regulations and guidelines, including the requirements for enrichment in the Animal Welfare Act and the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, without compromising scientific study integrity.
Investigators who lack training in animal behavior may underestimate the importance of enrichment as it pertains to animal well-being, and consequently, restrict or eliminate enrichment from their animal use proposals due to concerns about negative scientific impact on their studies. For example, social housing may be met with resistance due to the possibility of fighting, the impact on food consumption data, or interference with surgical sites. Food enrichment and foraging substrate may be perceived to introduce novel variability to study data or prompt concerns over caloric intake. In fact, in many instances, elimination or reduction of opportunities for animals to express species-specific behavior can negatively impact a variety of physiologic parameters and may result in stressed animals and/or skewed scientific data. Some of these parameters include, but are not limited to, impacts on hematology results, cardiovascular telemetry data, and food consumption. (Presented on September 17, 2014)
This webinar addressed the importance of environmental enrichment through a discussion of:
- How the absence of enrichment can negatively impact animal well-being and result in study complications
- Strategies to integrate enrichment proposals with individual study specifications
- The institutional animal care and use committee’s (IACUC’s) role and responsibility in educating investigators about environmental enrichment
This intermediate-level webinar was of interest to IACUC administrators, coordinators, members, and staff, as well as other compliance personnel, researchers and research staff, and veterinarians.
Webinar participants holding the Certified Professional in IACUC Administration (CPIA®) credential may apply 1 continuing education credits towards CPIA recertification. Learn More »
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