Vaughan, L. M., Dawson, J. S., Porter, P. R. et al. 2014. Castration promotes welfare in group-housed male Swiss outbred mice maintained in educational institutions. JAALAS 53(1), 38-43.
Educational institutions maintain group-housed mice of both sexes for training veterinarians and technicians in husbandry, medication, and sampling procedures. Mice kept in all-male groups may experience poor welfare due to fighting. Castrated mice may be used to replace gonadally intact males for such training programs. In this prospective cohort study, 80 castrated and 80 control (intact) male mice were studied over 3 mo to monitor aggression frequency and injury levels. Behavioral observations were performed twice weekly by using an all-occurrences sampling method to quantify behavioral events and the number and severity of bite wounds. Under these housing conditions, group-housed male mice castrated postpubertally exhibited significantly less aggression than did intact male mice. Castration therefore improves welfare in group-housed male mice and thus provides a husbandry alternative to individually housing animals in nonstudy situations.