Whittaker, A. L., Howarth, G. S., Hickman, D. L. 2012. Effects of space allocation and housing density on measures of wellbeing in laboratory mice: A review. Laboratory Animals 46(1), 3-13.
In the majority of countries where there are legislative requirements pertaining to the use of animals in research, figures are quoted for minimum cage sizes or space allocation to be provided per animal. These figures are generally based on professional judgement and are in common usage. However, there is a growing trend and expectation that welfare science should inform regulatory decision-making. Given the importance of the potential welfare influences of cage size on the animals themselves, this paper presents the latest scientific knowledge on this topic in one of the most commonly used animals in research, the mouse. A comprehensive review of studies in laboratory mice was undertaken, examining the effects of space allocation per animal and animal density on established welfare indicators. To date, animal density studies have predominated, and the effects of space allocation per se are still relatively unclear. This information will guide those involved in facility management or legislative review, and provide a more solid foundation for further studies into the effects of routine husbandry practices on animal welfare.