People: Charlotte Burn, Dominic Wells, Noelia Lopez-Salesansky, Nur Hidayu Mazlan, Natalie Chancellor, Siobhan Abeyesinghe

Humane Identification Marking

Identification marking of mice is routinely done because it is otherwise impossible to distinguish between individuals of the same coat colour, and identification allows mice to be housed socially, and for their individual histories to be monitored accurately. However, many different techniques exist, such as ear punching and ear tagging, which break the skin, and marking the fur or tail with ink that could contain substances that mice would normally avoid. Ayu Mazlan is conducting a PhD that aims to generate practical recommendations regarding the most humane methods for identification marking laboratory mice. She is supervised by Dominic Wells and co-supervised by Charlotte Burn.

Controlling Scents in the Lab

Mice have an extremely well-developed sense of smell and their behaviour and physiology can be profoundly affected by scents from other animals (including humans), and by chemicals in the environment. Noelia Lopez-Salesansky's PhD aims to discover which, if any, alternative husbandry procedures should be used to maximise welfare and experimental validity. For example, a multitude of different cleaning products are used in laboratories, and she is investigating whether mice avoid or are adversely affected by any of the most commonly used products. Noelia is supervised by Charlotte Burn, and co-supervised by Dominic Wells and Lucy Whitfield. We are also collaborating with Cathy Fernandes at Kings College London. Noelia is funded by an RVC Went Scholarship, with research costs provided by UFAW.

How Frequently should we Clean Rats' cages?

Charlotte Burn's own PhD investigated the effects of different cage-cleaning intervals on rat behaviour and welfare, aiming to strike the balance between hygiene and the stability of the animals' nests and scent marks. It turned out that this did not matter much to the rats! However, other aspects of husbandry and the laboratory environment did, including their bedding material (compressed paper is much better than wood chips), handling methods, and the noises, lighting and odours in their environments. Charlotte's PhD was supervised by Prof. Georgia Mason at Oxford University, and was funded by the Home Office.

Peer-reviewed publications

Lopez-Salesansky, N., Mazlan, N.H., Wells, D.J., Whitfield, L., & Burn, C.C. (in press) Olfactory variation in mouse husbandry and its implications for refinement and standardisation: UK survey of animal scents. Laboratory Animals

Lopez-Salesansky, N., Mazlan, N.H., Wells, D.J., Whitfield, L., & Burn, C.C. (in press) Olfactory variation in mouse husbandry and its implications for refinement and standardisation: UK survey of non-animal scents. Laboratory Animals

Lilley, Elliot; Armstrong, Rachel; Clark, Nicole; Gray, Peter; Hawkins, Penny; Mason, Karen; López-Salesansky, Noelia; Stark, Anne Katrien; Jackson, Simon K.; Thiemermann, Christoph; Nandi, Manasi. (2015) Refinement of animal models of sepsis and septic shock. Shock

Lopez-Salesansky, N., et al. (2015). "Olfactory variation in mouse husbandry and its implications for refinement and standardization: UK survey of non-animal scents." Lab Anim.

MAZLAN, N.H., LOPEZ-SALESANKSY, N., BURN, C.C., & WELLS D.J. (2014) Mouse identification methods and potential welfare issues: a survey of current practice in the UK. Animal Technology and Welfare 13: 1-10

BURN, C.C. (2008) What is it like to be a rat? Rat sensory perception and its implications for experimental design and rat welfare. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 112: 1-32 or [pdf]

BURN, C.C. & MASON, G.J. (2008) Effects of cage-cleaning frequency on laboratory rat reproduction, cannibalism, and welfare. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 114: 235–247 or [pdf]

BURN, C.C. & MASON, G.J. (2008) Rats seem indifferent between their own scent-marked homecages and clean cages. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 115: 201–210 or [pdf]

BURN, C.C., DEACON, R.M.J. & MASON G.J. (2008) Marked for life? Effects of early cage cleaning frequency, delivery batch and identification tail-marking on adult rat anxiety profiles. Developmental Psychobiology 50: 266-277

WELLS, D.J., PLAYLE, L.C., ENSER, W.E.J., FLECKNELL, P.A., GARDINER, M.A., HOLLAND, J., HOWARD, B.R., HUBRECHT, R., HUMPHREYS, K.R., JACKSON, I.J., LANE, N., MACONOCHIE, M., MASON, G., MORTON, D.B., RAYMOND, R., ROBINSON, V., SMITH, J.A., WATT, N., 2006. Assessing the welfare of genetically altered mice. Laboratory Animals 40, 111-114

BURN, C.C., DAY, M.J., PETERS, A. & MASON, G.J. (2006) Long-term effects of cage-cleaning frequency and bedding type on laboratory rat health, welfare, and handleability: a cross-laboratory study. Laboratory Animals, 40: 353-370 or [pdf]

BURN, C.C., PETERS, A. & MASON, G.J. (2006) Acute effects of cage-cleaning at different frequencies on laboratory rat behaviour and welfare. Animal Welfare, 15: 161-172 [pdf]

HAWKINS, P., NICHOLSON, J., BURN, C.C., et al. (2005) Report of the 2004 RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group meeting. Animal Technology and Welfare 4: 79-89

BURN, C.C. & MASON, G.J. (2005) Absorbencies of six different rodent beddings: commercially advertised absorbencies are potentially misleading. Laboratory Animals, 39: 68-74

Conference presentations

Lopez-Salesansky, N., Mazlan, N. H., Wells, D., Whitfield, L. & Burn, C. C. (2014) Tales from behind the barrier: Survey of husbandry procedures and their olfactory effects on laboratory mouse behavior and welfare. London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and LASA Care and Welfare Section Conference, London

Mazlan N. H., Burn C. C. & Wells D.(2014). The impact of ear biopsy on laboratory mouse welfare. UFAW conference, York

Burn, C. C. (2014). Do rodents really wheel-run for fun? RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Meeting, The Midlands

Lopez-Salesansky N., Wells D., Whitfield L., Fernandes C. & Burn C. C. (2013). The invisible handprint: preliminary results of the effects of glove type on mouse behaviour after handling. NC3Rs/Society of Biology 3Rs Symposium, London

Lopez-Salesansky N., Wells D., Whitfield L., & Burn C. C. (2012). Survey of potential olfactory effects on laboratory mouse behaviour and welfare. UFAW symposium, York

Mazlan N., Burn C. C. & Wells D. (2012). The impact of different identification systems on laboratory mouse behaviour and welfare. UFAW symposium, York

Burn C. C. (2011). The refined rodent: an overview of refinement for rats and mice. LASA/UFAW 3Rs Section Meeting, Herfordshire

Burn C. C. (2010). Handling and cage cleaning: effects on rat welfare. RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Meeting, London

Burn C. C. & Mason G. J. (2008). Cannibalism in clean cages: effects of cleaning frequency on the welfare of breeding rats. 42nd Congress of the International Society of Applied Ethology, Dublin

Burn C. C., Deacon R. & Mason G. J. (2006). Early cage-cleaning experience does not affect rat anxiety, but identification tail-marking does. International Society for Applied Ethology, Bristol

Mason G. J. & Burn C. C. (2006). Effects of cage-cleaning frequency and bedding type on laboratory rat health and welfare. 58th AALAS Meeting, Salt Lake City

Lola Brookes is conducting a PhD in collaboration with ZSL and Imperial college to identify was to refine, reduce and replace non-model amphibian experiments on amphibian infectious diseases.

Top of page