Stevens, C., Finnegan, E., Clarkson, J. et al. 2020. Report of the 2019 RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare meeting. Animal Technology and Welfare 19(2), 101-111.
The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 26 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues, and share experiences of the implementation of the 3Rs of replacement, reduction and refinement with respect to rodent use. The 26th meeting was held in November 2019 at the University of Birmingham and was attended by over 60 delegates from across the UK. The theme of this year’s meeting was ‘sentience, positive welfare and psychological well being’. The meeting opened with a talk on animal sentience and what it means for animal welfare, and this topic was returned to in the discussion session at the end of the day with delegates offering their own views on animal sentience. Some talks related to various refinements including enrichment, refined handling methods and clicker training and how these refinements affect behaviour and the affective (emotional) state of animals. Other talks discussed new ways of monitoring animals for better welfare assessment, addressing neonatal mortality in laboratory mice and how small changes can have a cumulative positive effect on the lives of laboratory animals. The day ended with an update from the Home Office Animals in Science Regulation Unit (ASRU) on their themed inspections relating to lack of food and water, refined handling of mice and needle re-use. This report summarises the meeting, and ends with a list of action points for readers to consider raising at their own establishments.