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Pair housing for female longtailed and rhesus macaques in the laboratory: behavior in protected contact versus full contact

By K. C. Baker, C. M. Crockett, G. H. Lee, B. C. Oettinger, V. Schoof, J. P. Thom

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Pair housing for caged macaques in the laboratory generally allows unrestricted tactile contact but, less commonly, may involve limited contact via grooming-contact bars or perforated panels. The purpose of using this protected contact housing, which prevents entry into pair-mates' cages, typically is to accommodate research and management requirements. The study used behavioral data collected on 12 pairs of female longtailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) at the Washington National Primate Research Center and 7 pairs of female rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) housed at the Tulane National Primate Research Center to assess the relative benefits of protected versus full protected contact. The study collected data in stable pairs housed first in protected contact followed by full contact. Species combined, the study found the presence of the panel was associated with lower levels of social grooming and higher levels of self-grooming, abnormal behavior, and tension-related behavior. Within species, only the protected- versus full-contact contrasts for abnormal and tension were statistically significant - and only for rhesus macaques. Results suggest that for female rhesus macaques, potential disadvantages or inconveniences of full contact should be balanced against the improved behavioral profile in comparison to protected contact. The use of protected contact among female longtailed macaques does not appear to require the same cost-benefit analysis.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 15
Issue 2
Pages 126-143
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2012.658330
Language English
Author Address Tulane National Primate Research Center, Tulane University, 18703 Three Rivers Road, Covington, LA 70433,
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Abnormal behavior
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal housing
  4. Animal rights
  5. Animal roles
  6. Animals
  7. Animal welfare
  8. APEC countries
  9. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  10. Cages
  11. Costs
  12. Developed countries
  13. Deviant behavior
  14. Grooming
  15. Laboratory and experimental animals
  16. Macaques
  17. Mammals
  18. Monkeys
  19. North America
  20. OECD countries
  21. peer-reviewed
  22. Primates
  23. United States of America
  24. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed