It is hard to wait. It sometimes seems like forever before new ideas, innovative methods or even common-sense reforms can be implemented, especially on the job. Part of the problem is inertia. Part of the problem is fear of the unknown. And a large part of the problem is reluctance to move outside one’s comfort zone.
Happily, acceptance of environmental enrichment is gaining real momentum. The inclusion of EE in the 8th Guide has certainly helped. We like to think that The Enrichment Record is also playing some small part in the acceptance of EE as a refinement that not only increases animal welfare but improves the science as well.
Programming focused on EE in North America is steadily increasing. Trainers and enrichment coordinators are submitting unsolicited articles to us. Articles published in this EZine are being cited in other articles published elsewhere. Significantly, after several tries to generate discussion among members of various LinkedIn groups and list-servs, we finally got some buzz going when we widely posted the following comment from Dr. Patricia Turner: “There are trends to call basic cage furnishings ‘environmental improvements’ instead of EE, to further emphasize that these items should be considered standard and not ‘add-ons’. This would include solid bottom cages with substrate, nesting material, and a shelter for mice, for example.”
The topic is hot, and we can’t wait until there’s less talk and more action. Of course, when EE is universally considered standard of care for all laboratory animal species and no longer an “add-on,” we’ll put ourselves out of business. What a great way to have your cookie and eat it too.
Jayne Mackta, Publisher
President & CEO, Global Research Education
& Training, LLC (GR8)