A lot of people are talking about environmental enrichment these days. And I am pleased to report that the conversations are moving beyond definitions and talk about toys and treats. The level of discussion is getting higher and deeper with presenters focusing on evidence-based strategies backed up by sound science.
CAAT held a two-day Symposium on Social Housing at the NIH that drew over 150 people to Bethesda in late August. VBI hosted the “Enrichment Leadership Exchange” in North Carolina and online in early September and is offering a 3-part webinar series featuring Sabrina Brando, AnimalConcepts. Also enriching the fall schedule is our own 4-part webinar series that brings a global perspective to the community with high-level presentations by Penny Hawkins (9/12), Vera Baumans (10/17), Mike Noonan (11/13), and the always provocative Bernie Rollin (12/10).
Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Comparative Medicine will host its annual “Innovative Enrichment Symposium” on Sunday, October 27 as a satellite to National AALAS in Baltimore. They’ve been offering this national symposium since 2007. It is illuminating to review the program content as it has evolved over the years:
The questions we need to be asking include:
• Are we competing among ourselves for the same audience?
• What is the actual impact of the growing number of enrichment conferences and webinars on the welfare of lab animals?
• To whom should we be talking, and what should we be talking about?
• What can we do to broaden the audience?
• Are people actually doing more or are they content to keep talking about enrichment?
In other words, “How are we doing?”
What do you think we should be doing next?
Jayne Mackta, Publisher
President & CEO, Global Research Education
& Training, LLC (GR8)