AWI is dedicated to improving the care, housing, and handling of animals in research facilities. From our earliest days, we have encouraged laboratory personnel to provide animals with comfortable housing and the opportunity to engage in species-typical behaviors, while sparing them needless suffering. For this reason, AWI is offering grants of up to $10,000 to develop and test innovative methods of refinement to improve the welfare of animals in research. Additional funding of up to $500 may be provided, upon request, to defray travel costs for presentation of accepted abstracts or talks at national meetings. The deadline for applications is February 1, 2019, and grant recipients will be notified in March. Further information and links to the online application are available at www.awionline.org/refinementawards.
In addition, AWI congratulates the most recent Refinement Grant recipients:
Dr. Brianna Gaskill, Purdue University: Investigating the link between laboratory personnel’s professional quality of life and the provision of environmental enrichment to animals under their care. Environmental enrichment has proven welfare benefits, yet it is not consistently used. The purpose of this study is to shed light on the relationship between human attitudes and the provision of environmental enrichment to laboratory animals. Understanding this link may help with the development of intervention strategies to improve the welfare of animals in research.
Dr. Kathleen Coda, University of Illinois at Chicago: Developing and validating environmental enrichment strategies to improve the welfare of rabbits housed in standard-size laboratory cages. This study seeks to determine which enrichment devices—designed to encourage natural behaviors like exploration, digging, and rearing—the animals prefer. Subsequently, the study will examine physiological and behavioral indicators to determine whether providing the rabbits with preferred enrichment can help mitigate the stress they experience during shipping.