Lidster, K., Readman, G. D., Prescott, M. J. et al. 2017. International survey on the use and welfare of zebrafish Danio rerio in research. Journal of Fish Biology 90(5), 1891-1905.
A survey was conducted regarding zebrafish Danio rerio use for scientific research with a focus on: anaesthesia and euthanasia; housing and husbandry; breeding and production; refinement opportunities. A total of 98 survey responses were received from laboratories in 22 countries in Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Australia. There appears a clear and urgent need to identify the most humane methods of anaesthesia and euthanasia. Aversive responses to MS-222 were widely observed raising concerns about the use of this anaesthetic for D. rerio. The use of anaesthesia in fin clipping for genetic identification is widely practised and there appears to be an opportunity to further develop less invasive methods and refine this process. Optimization (and potentially standardization) of feeding is an area for further investigation. Given that diet and body condition can have such profound effects on results of experiments, differences in practice could have significant scientific implications. Further research into transition between dark and light phases in the laboratory appears to represent an opportunity to establish best practice. Plants and gravel were not considered practical by many laboratories. The true value and benefits need to be established and communicated. Overproduction is a concern both from ethical and financial viewpoints. There is an opportunity to further reduce wastage of D. rerio. There are clear concerns and opportunities for the scientific community to work together to further improve the welfare of these important laboratory models.