Compatibility with science: Scientists
It is increasingly accepted that ‘better welfare equals better science’. Both psychological and physiological suffering can increase the variability of animals’ physiological responses as they attempt to cope with the stressor. Reducing suffering will therefore decrease the ‘signal to noise ratio’ in experimental data, improving the power of the study, which may result in fewer animals being used in each experiment. In all cases, researchers should always be able to explain and justify scientific reasons for not implementing refinement (e.g. to their AWB/AWERB).
This article in the Enrichment Record (PDF 1.27MB) discusses the concept of ‘better welfare equals better science’ in more depth, with respect to enrichment, and includes some action points for researchers.
If you have a case study that you would be prepared to share on this site, we would be pleased to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org
The following case histories illustrate where refinement has been applied to severe models or procedures and the benefits that have accrued:
ALS in mice
Case history 1 (ALS): Changes to welfare assessment and application of refinement help to reduce suffering in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Cuprizone in mice
Case history 2 (cuprizone): Use of imaging techniques and additional refinements reduce severity from severe to mild in a model of demyelination.
Fungal infection in mice
Case history 3 (fungal): Development of an early humane endpoint in a model of fungal infection.
Rheumatoid arthritis in mice
Case history 4 (RA): Adoption of a range of refinements combine to reduce suffering in a mouse model of rheumatoid arthritis.