Human interaction and physical environmental factors are part of the stimuli presented to laboratory animals everyday, influencing their behaviour and physiology and contributing to their welfare. Certain environmental conditions and routine procedures in the animal facility might induce stress responses and when the animal is unable to maintain its homeostasis in the presence of a particular stressor, the animal's wellbeing is threatened. This review article summarizes several published studies on the impact of environmental factors such as light, noise, cage cleaning and in-house transport on welfare and stress of laboratory rats. The behaviour and physiological responses of laboratory rats to different environmental housing conditions and routine procedures are reviewed. Recommendations on the welfare of laboratory rats and refinements in experimental design are discussed and how these can influence and improve the quality of scientific data.
|Publication Title||Laboratory Animals|
|Author Address||Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Health Sciences, University of Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal. firstname.lastname@example.org|
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