Hawkins, P., Atkinson, J., Birt, R. et al. 2016. Report of the 2015 RSPCA/UFAW rodent and rabbit welfare group meeting. Animal Technology and Welfare 15(1), 9-22. [Meeting Report]
The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 21 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on rodent welfare issues and share experiences of the implementation of the 3Rs of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement with respect to rodent use. A UFAW/RSPCA rabbit behaviour and welfare group with equivalent aims also used to meet annually, but this was disbanded due to a lack of ongoing research into laboratory rabbit welfare at that time. However, the Rodent Welfare Group decided to include rabbits within this year’s meeting, which proved popular with delegates so the meetings will now cover both rabbits and rodents. This meeting was held on 23 October 2015 at Newcastle University and was attended by 75 delegates. Presentation topics included rodent and rabbit biology and behaviour, refining laboratory rabbit housing and care, pain assessment in rabbits, olfactory effects on mouse welfare, questioning the necessity of sham operations, refining analgesia in mice, a review of refinement in Germany and reducing the use of ageing mice. The Home Office Animals in Science Regulation Unit also provided an update of its guidance and annual statistics on animal use. This report summarises the meeting and ends with a list of action points for readers to raise at their own establishments.