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Toxicol Pathol. 2003 Jan-Feb;31 Suppl:132-7.

Environmental enrichment of nonhuman primates, dogs and rabbits used in toxicology studies.

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AAALAC International, Rockville, Maryland 20842, USA.


The increasing emphasis on the provision of environmental enrichment to laboratory animals, vis-à-vis the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations, the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (NRC 1996), and a potential forthcoming policy from the USDA on the subject, can be difficult to accommodate in a toxicology research environment. A summary will be provided of current requirements and recommendations. Then, strategies for meeting regulatory requirements will be described for non-rodent animals used in toxicology research. These strategies will address methods of both social enrichment, such as pair or group housing, as well as non-social enrichment, such as cage furniture, food enrichments, and toys. In addition, the value of positive interactions with staff (e.g., through training paradigms or socialization programs) will also be discussed. Apparent in the discussion of these strategies will be an overarching recognition of the necessity to avoid introducing confounding variables into the research project and to avoid compromising animal health. The roles of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and the attending veterinarian in helping scientists balance animal well-being, the scientific enterprise and the regulatory environment will be described.

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