Weary, D. M. 2011. A good life for laboratory animals - How far must refinement go? Alternatives to Animal Experimentation [ALTEX] Proceedings of WC8, 11-13.
Refinement typically is viewed as a means of reducing harms to animals used in laboratory research. Examples of recent research on refinement include improved methods of handling and euthanasia. Focus in the animal welfare literature is now shifting from simply reducing harms that we cause to animals to promoting positive experiences; the question has become "do the animals under our care experience a good life?" Achieving a good life may require that we provide environments that allow animals to express natural behaviors that they are motivated to perform and provide opportunities for positive emotional experiences, such that positive experiences far outweigh negative ones. Recent research in animal welfare science has begun to develop methods for identifying and assessing positive emotional states and assessing how animals view their own condition. Judgments regarding a good life for laboratory animals ultimately require public input, and researchers must seek out effective methods for informed engagement with the public on the quality of living conditions we provide for the animals under our care... Hiding lab animals in unmarked bunkers reflects a culture of fear and embarrassment around the quality of life we provide for these animals. We may avoid some controversy in the short term by keeping the public unaware of common practices, but without engaging the public we provide no path for methods of care to come into harmony with public expectations.