Hawkins, P., Burn, C., Hurst, J. et al. 2011. Report of the 2010 RSPCA/UFAW rodent welfare group meeting - The effect of husbandry on welfare and promoting good practice. Animal Technology and Welfare 10(2), 105-114.
The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group holds a one-day meeting every autumn 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 key aim of the Group is to encourage people to think about the whole lifetime experience of laboratory rodents, ensuring that every potential negative impact on their wellbeing is reviewed and minimised. The 2010 meeting focused on the effects of handling and cage change on rats and mice. Although both are extremely commonplace events in the lives of laboratory rodents, recent research suggests that they can have quite a profound impact on behaviour and welfare. The meeting took a closer look at the implications of these studies and discussed how people are handling and caring for rodents and what further refinements might be made. Two interactive discussion sessions focused on the implementation of animal welfare science and how this can be further encouraged in practice. Topics discussed include: the effect of handling and cage cleaning on rat welfare; the effect of handling method on mouse anxiety; the effect of removing rats on those remaining in the group; pain assessment in rabbits; and an alternative to the gavage needle for administering retinoic acid to mice.