• The intensity of animal manipulation and invasiveness of the procedures conducted.

  • The presence of hazardous or disease-causing materials.

  • The duration of the holding period.

Animals should be housed with a goal of maximizing species-specific behaviors and minimizing stress-induced behaviors. For social species, this normally requires housing in compatible pairs or groups. A strategy for achieving desired housing should be developed by animal care personnel with review and approval by the IACUC. Decisions by the IACUC in consultation with the investigator and veterinarian, should be aimed at achieving high standards for professional and husbandry practices considered appropriate for the health and well-being of the species and consistent with the research objectives. After the decision-making process, objective assessments should be made to substantiate the adequacy of animal environment, husbandry, and management.

The environment in which animals are maintained should be appropriate to the species, its life history, and its intended use. For some species, it might be appropriate to approximate the natural environment for breeding and maintenance. Expert advice might be sought for special requirements associated with the experiment or animal subject (for example, hazardous-agent use, behavioral studies, and immunocompromised animals, farm animals, and nontraditional laboratory species).

The following sections discuss some considerations of the physical environment related to common research animals.


Microenvironment and Macroenvironment

The microenvironment of an animal is the physical environment immediately surrounding it—the primary enclosure with its own temperature, humidity, and gaseous and particulate composition of the air. The physical environment of the secondary enclosure—such as a room, a barn, or an outdoor habitat—constitutes the macroenvironment. Although the microenvironment and the macro-environment are linked by ventilation between the primary and secondary enclosures, the environment in the primary enclosure can be quite different from the environment in the secondary enclosure and is affected by the design of both enclosures.

Measurement of the characteristics of the microenvironment can be difficult in small primary enclosures. Available data indicate that temperature, humidity, and concentrations of gases and particulate matter are often higher in an animal's microenvironment than in the macroenvironment (Besch 1980; Flynn 1959; Gamble and Clough 1976; Murakami 1971; Serrano 1971). Microenvironmental

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement