Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum (LAREF)
Viktor Reinhardt, Moderator
Jeannine Cason Rodgers, Kayla Shayne, Jacqueline Schwartz, Lorraine Bell, Pau Molina Vila, Amy Kerwin, Jeannine Cason Rodgers, Polly Schultz, Genevieve Andrews-Kelly (Genny), Marcie Donnelly, Vitale Augusto, Ali Moore, David Cawston
Moderator: When animals are classified into lower-order versus higher-order species, would you say that higher-order species—such as monkeys, dogs or pigs—experience more distress under standard housing and handling practices than lower-order species—such as rats, mice or frogs? If so, do higher-order species deserve more of your attention when designing and furnishing their living quarters and when handling them?
Kayla: To speak of higher and lower order may have a place when animals are subjected to invasive experiments and life-threatening procedures, but when it comes to housing and handling, all species deserve our same attention. Lower-order animals are giving us research data that are by no means less valuable than data obtained from higher-order animals, so in return we must appreciate all animals equally and provide them with the absolute best care possible. It’s only fair!
Jacqueline: I don’t think of lower or higher orders when considering different species. Independent of their species, all animals are at risk of experiencing distress if they are forced to endure inadequate living and stressful handling conditions. To me, one species is no more important than any other species that we work with in the research environment. A distressed rat, mouse, rabbit, dog, cat or monkey is not a happy critter and, therefore, not a suitable candidate for good scientific research.
Because any unwanted stressors will have a negative effect both on animal welfare and science, it seems logical that they be identified and eliminated whenever possible.—Richmond, 2002