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GA Passport Working Group

The health and welfare of all genetically altered (GA) animals used in research can be maximised by ensuring that information relating to their creation, breeding and care remains with them throughout their life.


Transporting laboratory animals © Andrew Forsyth/RSPCA photolibrary


Since 2001, the Animal Procedures Committee (APC), and other organisations, including the Joint Working Group on Refinement, have published reports recommending that information should be collated for all GA mice regarding their creation, breeding, husbandry and care. In the following years, little practical progress was made, although some people pursued this idea at individual establishments. In 2008, the RSPCA therefore initiated a GA Passport Working Group (GAPWG).

GA passport booklet © RSPCA

The working group produced a current best practice booklet GA passports - the key to consistent animal care (2010) (PDF 169KB) with the aim of ensuring that all UK establishments using and/or creating GA animals of any species generate, record and disseminate the right information. The recommendations bring together advances in routine welfare assessment, with the idea of ‘mouse passports’ and developments in welfare/phenotyping databases.The booklet is aimed at anyone working with or caring for GA animals, those responsible for recording or maintaining records of GA animals, and/or those involved in the import, export or transport of GA animals. It covers: 

  • What is a GA passport? 
  • Why use a GA passport? 
  • When to use a GA passport 
  • What a GA passport should contain?
  • Useful resources

In order for animal welfare to be improved and the potential for pain, suffering and distress minimised it is vital that animal care information, tailored to individuals and strains of animal, is readily accessible to any person providing animal care. Ensuring this information travels in advance of the animals - in preparation for their arrival - with an additional copy accompanying them, will facilitate the provision of a consistent standard of care throughout the animals' lifetimes. In 2013, we held a workshop to discuss the practicalities of using GA passports and to share good practice.  


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