Congratulations to the organizers of the Symposium on Social Housing of Laboratory Animals for an extremely informative meeting dedicated to improving the welfare of animals in research. The conference, held on the National Institutes of Health campus in late August, included a full day focused on social housing of non-human primates, with talks by experts Mollie Bloomsmith, Kristine Coleman, Steve Schapiro, and Kelly Harding. The second day included presentations on dogs (LaVonne Meunier), pigs (Candace Croney), rabbits (Karen Froberg) and rodents (Rianna Gaskill).
No one there questioned the importance of social housing or offered up excuses. Rather, the focus was on finding ways to make social housing work, whether the issues involved individual animals, facility management or principal investigators. In all cases, attendees received guidance on successful approaches.
Many new faces at this meeting meant the information was gratefully absorbed by a fresh crew of caregivers, veterinarians, and other laboratory personnel. The proceedings should be published and available in the New Year. Hopefully, the conference can be taken on the road as a means to reach out to those in different parts of the country who are anxious to do more for the animals, but could use some assistance.