Warwick, C., Steedman, C., Jessop, M. et al. 2023. Defining short-term accommodation for animals. Animals 13(4), 732.
The terms short-term, temporary, and transitional are related but can have different contexts and meanings for animal husbandry. The definitions and use of these terms can be pivotal to animal housing and welfare. We conducted three separate literature searches using Google Scholar for relevant reports regarding short-term, temporary, or transitional animal husbandry, and analysed key publications that stipulate relevant periods of accommodation. English Government guidance regarding acceptable short-term, temporary, or transitional accommodation for animals varies widely from <1 day to 3 months; whereas independent scientific criteria and guidance use typical periods of hours to several days. Stipulations regarding acceptable short-term, temporary, or transitional accommodation, notably among English Government guidance, which we focused on in this study, were highly inconsistent and lacked scientific rationale. The definitions and use of terms for both formal and other guidance should be limited to precautionary time frames within one circadian cycle, i.e., periods of <24 h. At ≥24 h, all animals at all facilities should be accommodated in conditions that are consistent with long-term housing, husbandry, and best practices.