McIntosh, M. K., Armitage-Brown, B., Levy, R. 2019. Refinements of equipment and methodology to reduce risk during pole-guided chair transfer of nonhuman primates. JAALAS 58(4), 462-468.
Neurophysiologic studies of NHP commonly involve their transfer from a housing enclosure to a laboratory by using a mobile chair. This transfer should be performed in a manner that is safe and minimizes stress for both animal and handler. The risk of harm associated with attempting to transfer these animals is increased when they are mature and naïve. We have modified previous chair designs and transfer methodologies to reduce this risk by maintaining a constant barrier between NHP and handler while providing control to the handler to facilitate chairing. Chair modifications were built inhouse, and a commercial, hydraulic lift table was used to dock the primate chair to home cages of different heights. The docking chair method was used with 8 adult, male rhesus macaques. A graduate student transferred the animals without complications. These modifications did not compromise existing features of the chair, they did not require training time in addition to that for the standard chairing method in our facility, and they improved safety. These refinements to a commonly used chair and transfer methodology support rapid habituation, safe transfer and reduced stress for both animal and handler. The refinements we describe mitigate the potential risk of harm during NHP transfers and thus advance animal welfare.