Social enhancement for caged macaques: 63-72

Positive versus negativehuman-nonhuman primate interactions (photos 63-72)

"An important, and often neglected, source of social enrichment, especially when animals must be isolated from conspecifics, is attention from caretakers and technicians" [Reese, 1991].

"It is not an overstatement to say the right technician instills qualities in the animals that make them better and more reliable research subjects. Stress [and fear], on the other hand, leads to profound physiological and behavioral changes that increase the variability of the data and decrease the reliability of the results. ... The caretaker or technician is at the pinnacle of a cascading series of environmental and social influences that determine the well-being of the animals. He [or she] must strive to develop a social bond with all animals. ... The bond with the caregiver conveys to an animal a quiet sense of assurance upon which coping strategies can be developed" [Wolfle, 1996].


Photo 63: A positive human-animal relationship not only might enhance the psychological well-being of the animals [NRC, 1998] - and of the human! - but will also facilitate routine and experimental procedures.




Photos 64 & 65: Rhesus macaques often show fear and defense responses – reflected in significant changes in 'normal' physiology [Malinow et al., 1974; Line et al., 1989a] – when personnel is around (photo 64) and tries to remove them from their cages (photo 65). It is not uncommon that monkeys 'freak out' when somebody enters their room and approaches a cage [cf. Arluke & Sanders, 1996]. Such reactions are the result of repeated, negative experiences with people [cf. T-W-Fiennes, 1972] and can, therefore, readily be overcome through consistently positive, species-adjusted manners and interactions.

"The performance of an animal during an experiment depends very much on its confidence in man, something which has to be developed. ... It is therefore recommended that frequent contact should be maintained so that the animals become familiar with human presence and activity. Where appropriate, time should be set aside for talking, handling and grooming. The staff should be sympathetic, gentle and firm when associating with the animals" [European Economic Community 1986; cf. Home Office, 1989].

"Interactions between human and nonhuman primates can be made less stressful by ... familiarity with handlers and researchers through positive interactions outside [emphasis added by authors] the handling context. ... Most monkeys respond appropriately to consistent considerate treatment but can be quite dangerous when teased, tricked, or bullied. ... Well-trained and motivated caregivers can provide an enormous difference in reducing the stress of the animals" [NRC, 1998].


 Photo 66: A positive human-animal relationship is the basic condition for successful positive reinforcement training programs. "If handled with sympathy and understanding they [laboratory primates] can become more than research tools - even co-operative partners in experimentation " [T-W-Fiennes, 1972].




Photos 67* & 68: Training rhesus macaques to cooperate during common procedures – such as injection (photo 67) followed by positive reinforcement (photo 68) – in the familiar home cage is a very valuable and effective option of social enhancement, providing mental stimulation not only for the animal subject but also for the human handler [Reinhardt, 1992a]. The interaction between animal and personnel is now based on trust, rather than fear [Reinhardt & Dodsworth, 1989].

Successful training for injection has also been reported for baboons (Papio sp.; Levison, 1964), mandrills (Mandrillus leucophaeus; Priest, 1991a,b), chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes; Byrd, 1977), orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus; Berman & Greenblatt, 1989), and Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla; Lynn, 1997; Quisenberry, 1997; Brown, 1998).


Photos 69 & 70: Even though "rhesus monkeys in the laboratory have well-earned reputations for their aggressive response and near-intractable disposition" [Bernstein et al., 1974], positive reinforcement techniques can safely be used to train them for the most common research-related procedure, namely blood collection - from the saphenous vein (photo 69) or from the femoral vein (photo 70) – in the familiar home cage rather than in hallways or in treatment rooms.


Several different investigators have reported of rhesus macaques who have been trained to present a limb for blood collection [Elvidge et al., 1976; Bernstein et al., 1977; Walker et al., 1982; Vertein & Reinhardt, 1989; Reinhardt, 1991d; Phillippi-Falkenstein & Clarke, 1992; Eaton et al., 1994]. Some of the reports include a step-by-step description of the actual training protocol [Vertein & Reinhardt, 1989; Reinhardt, 1991d; Phillippi-Falkenstein & Clarke, 1992].

Animals who have been trained to cooperate during blood collection – here two females – do not show behavioral fear reactions and significant changes in hematological parameters [Verlangieri et al., 1985; Reinhardt, 1991c] and stress-sensitive hormones – e.g., cortisol, testosterone, growth hormone, prolactin – that typically occur during the traditional blood collection procedures, where the subject is forcefully restrained or anesthetized [Elvidge et al., 1976; Puri et al., 1981; Eidara et al., 1991; Fuller et al., 1984; Herndon et al., 1984; Reinhardt et al., 1991c; Reinhardt, 1992a]. "Procedures that reduce reliance on forced restraint ... are less stressful for animals and staff, safer for both, and generally more efficient" [NRC, 1998].
"The least distressing method of handling is to train the animal to co-operate in routine procedures. Advantage should be taken of the animal's ability to learn" [Home Office, 1989].

Successful training for blood collection has also been reported for long-tailed macaques (M. fascicularis; Hein et al., 1989), stump-tailed macaques (M. arctoides; Reinhardt & Cowley, 1992), Celebes macaques (M. nigra; Iliff, 1997), vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethips; Wall et al., 1985; Suleman et al., 1988), baboons (Papio anubis; Suleman et al., 1988), mandrills (Mandrillus leucophaeus; Priest, 1991a,b), chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes; T-W-Fiennes, 1972; McGinnis & Kraemer, 1979;
April, 1994; Laule et al., 1996), and orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus; Moore & Suedmeyer, 1997).



Photos 71* & 72*: There is no need to forcefully restrain rhesus macaques during blood collection to guarantee the safety of the handling personnel.

In fact "despite rigorous observance of all precautions, bites and scratches are frequent" [Valerio et al., 1969; cf. Zakaria et al., 1996], obviously because the fearfully resisting monkey will do everything to defend herself or himself in self-defense. At the same time, "it is only common sense ... that an animal will not respond normally if it is stressed" [Schwindaman, 1991] while data are being collected.

"The stress involved in venipuncture lies primarily in the physical restraint necessary to obtain the sample" [NRC, 1998]. Yet, it is uncommon to find descriptions of the blood collection protocol in scientific publications [Reinhardt, 1999b]. This suggests that many investigators do not recognize that the manner of collecting blood can introduce uncontrolled stress variables into research data, leading to increased data variability and, therefore, unnecessarily increasing the number of experimental animals needed to obtain statistically acceptable results [cf. Fox, 1986; Home Office, 1989; Brockway et al. 1993; Schnell & Gerber, 1997; Ödbrink & Rehbinder, 1999].

  Training to cooperate during blood collection (photos 73-79)

  Table of Contents

Share This!