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Effects of environmental enrichment for mice: variation in experimental results

By H. A. van de Weerd, E. L. Aarsen, A. Mulder, C. L. J. J. Kruitwagen, C. F. M. Hendriksen, V. Baumans

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Abstract

This study focused on the effects of different enriched environments for mice in a number of behavioural and physiological parameters in 2 routine laboratory testing procedures: potency testing for tetanus vaccine and stress-induced hyperthermia. The variability in the results was studied by calculating and analysing mean absolute deviations. Mice from enriched conditions weighed more and consumed more food than mice from standard housing conditions. However, mice from enriched conditions lost more body weight after being housed individually. Other physiological parameters showed no differences. Mice from standard conditions were more active in an open field, suggesting a tendency to overrespond to various stimuli in a testing environment. Mice from enriched environments were more tranquil and easier to handle. The enrichment did not influence the variability in any of the parameters measured, although earlier results and results of other studies suggest that the effects on the variability in results are parameter dependent. When enrichment does not influence variability, there is no reason for not introducing cage enrichment and by doing so contributing to the animals' welfare.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 5
Issue 2
Pages 87-109
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1207/S15327604JAWS0502_01
Language English
Author Address Department of Laboratory Animal Science, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands.heleen.vandeweerd@adas.co.uk
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Tags
  1. Animal housing
  2. Animal rights
  3. Animals
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Feed intake
  6. Laboratory and experimental animals
  7. Laboratory animal science
  8. Liveweight gains
  9. Mammals
  10. Mice
  11. peer-reviewed
  12. Rodents
  13. vertebrates
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  1. peer-reviewed