A Historical Perspective on Social Housing

>>Eric Hutchinson:
All right. I know some people are
still shuffling in, but hopefully everybody’s got
their bellies full and they’re ready to take
in another good talk. Since most of you were
here yesterday, I’m not going to go through
Dr. Kathryn Bayne’s extensive and impressive
biography other than to say that she is the
Global Director for the Association of Assessment
and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care
International, known to most of us as AAALAC
International. I also want to say that
she is — while she is the bigwig at AAALAC, we
actually have asked her to take that hat off for this
afternoon and serve as a bit of a historian for us. So we’ve been hearing for
two days about kind of where we’re at with
social housing, and she’s now going to remind us all
of where we’ve been. So, with that, Dr. Bayne. [applause]>>Kathryn Bayne: It is
indeed a pleasure to be here. So thank you, again,
for inviting me. Do we have the
clicker, Eric? Oh, here it is. I found it. Sorry. So, I was asked to give a
historical perspective on social housing. This was my
first reaction. You know you’re getting
old when — and here are some of my favorite
quotes to that effect. You know you’re getting
old when the twinkle in your eye is merely a
reflection from the sun on your bifocals. You know you’re getting
old when you say something to your kids that your
mother said to you and you always hated it. And my personal favorite:
you know you’re getting old when your idea of a
night out is sitting on the patio. So, for today’s purposes,
you know you’re getting old when they ask you
to give a talk from a historical perspective. So, gee, thanks, Eric. [laughter] I feel ever so much
better about myself now. All right. Well, I think there is
some rationale, if you will, to why he asked me
to give this talk, and part of that is that I
think I was there near the beginning — perhaps not
at the beginning, but near the beginning of when we
started to be concerned about the psychological
wellbeing of non-human primates. So let’s just step back a
little bit and talk about what the primary emphasis
of historical perspective is, and I believe it’s
uncovering how things change over time,
with the objective of better understanding the present
and the future, not the past. So, historical
perspective, according to Nisbit in his book
“The History of the Idea of Progress,” is that it
reveals progress that is inexorable change over
time from lower to higher states of knowledge. And I think over the last
two days we have very definitively seen
how the body of knowledge is increasing in the field
of — most broadly environmental enrichment
and laboratory animal behavior and, of course, more specifically, social housing. So I want to talk a little
bit over the next several minutes about how there’s
been a paradigm shift in how we view social
housing, and I’m going to talk a little bit about
what factors contributed to our expanding approach
to social housing of laboratory animals and
what related issues have resulted from those
discussions in that research, and can we use our retrospectoscope to judge
the future of social housing? So, for me — perhaps my
own bias has been injected into this presentation
— it begins with the non-human primate. Clearly a species of
tremendous concern to us as researchers, as
veterinarians, as those who support the
research in every aspect, as well as the general public. In the old days — you
got to have a historical perspective and say
“old days,” right? And you got to have some
black-and-white pictures, which are coming later. Rhesus Monkeys were
imported from India and placed into groups
in holding rooms for quarantine. Shortly before I came to
the NIH, that was still a practice. Now, those animals were
not necessarily familiar with each other, they
had just undergone the tremendous stress of
shipping, and they were currently experiencing the novelty of a new environment. No surprise, then, that
there was fighting and reports of disease. And there was one
published report of 95 percent of the animals in quarantine having intestinal parasites. So not exactly the
cleanest way to house animals that were
coming in for biomedical research, and it was
recognized that this was certainly a problem. So the procedures were
changed to put all imported primates
into individual housing. Still the animals coming
from India, but put into individual housing. And as — clearly, because
they were individually housed, there
was no fighting. That eliminated
that 100 percent. But it also resulted in
significantly reduced disease incidence. So the health of the
animals was better. The impact on the behavior
of those animals was just simply not recognized. It was not a time when
that was on the radar screen, and it just
simply was not recognized. Well, many in the room
may know that in 1978 the Indian government
banned exportation of non-human primates. Contemporaneous with that
was the creation of the National Primate Plan,
of which — NIH was a key leader in that effort. There have been some
preliminary steps taken to establish domestic
breeding colonies, but those domestic breeding
colonies were being reconsidered, reevaluated,
and after the ban was actually imposed,
thoroughly escalated. That was all part of the
National Primate Plan. So you still, then, would
have some social history — rearing history
of the animals. They were either in
mother-infant cages or in groups, but the
quarantine procedures didn’t change. They still entailed
single housing. Just seven years later
— so, one of the things about when you review
history, you I think telescope back down how events have occurred in sequence. And seven years is not
that long a period of time. So the ban in 1978, just
seven years later, the Animal Welfare
Act was amended. It was the Food Security
Act of 1985, approved by Congress, and this
included provisions to amend the Animal Welfare
Act as the Improved Standards for Laboratory
Animals Act, which was enacted by the
end of the year. And as you’ve heard
throughout the conference, among other things, it
directed the Secretary of Agriculture to establish
regulations to provide a physical
environment adequate to promote the psychological
wellbeing of non-human primates. A very innovative
phrase for its time. I’m not sure anybody quite
knew how to define it. Perhaps we’re still
wrestling with the definition of the term, but very advanced thinking for its time. The USDA commented that —
as related to the passage of this act, that social
interaction is an integral part of the psychological
wellbeing of non-human primates, and we believe
it is appropriate to address such social
groupings in the context of an overall approach
to promoting the psychological wellbeing
of non-human primates. So ding, ding, ding, ding. Ring the bell. So from 1978, when we
were starting to just pull animals out of
their groups, put them in single houses for quarantine and
keep them that way, seven years later comes the
initial language into regulation and our law
that social housing is important. Again, concurrent with
that, the 1985 edition comes out from the
National Research Council. So the USDA and Congress
is saying social housing is very, very important. And this — these are
excerpts from the 1985 guide, the next
couple slides. The ’85 guide said
the social environment includes all interactions
among individuals of a group or among those
able to communicate. And I confess that phrase
confounds me, and looking at it again backwards in
time, I guess they really believed that there were
some animals out there that didn’t communicate. So, if there’s no
communication, then there’s no social activity
among those animals. The guide goes on to say
the effects of social environment on caged
animals vary with the species and experience
of the animals. They’re often more
difficult to define than the effects of physical
environment, and I think we’re certainly
still feeling that today for some species
of lab animals. And these two phrases I
excerpted deliberately because I think
they really set the tone for social housing
in the ’85 guide. So, again, remember:
the USDA is saying it’s essential. The guide is saying
there’s little objective evidence for defining
adequate care in relation to social environment. The data are limited and
contradictory and lack sufficient guidance to establish absolute recommendations. Talk about a contrast. Was it any wonder that our
community was left in a quandary? Now, the U.S. Government Principles,
which have been referred to throughout the
conference, as well — the nine principles developed
by the Interagency Research Advisory
Committee, which is a — was a body of
federal agencies that came together over
animal-related matters. And they published their
nine principles in 1985, and principle seven says
the living conditions of animals should be
appropriate for their species and contribute to
their health and comfort — not just sustain
or support, but contribute to it. And that’s as close as
they get to speaking about social housing. Now, I put on these
three posters, and you’ve probably seen some of them
around this building even over the course of
the last two days. These are the NIH series
of posters, and they also appeared shortly around
the time that I started at NIH back in 1987. So the one on the left
says good animal care and good science go
hand-in-hand, and the thinking there was it’s
not just the physical health but the overall
health of the animal. And then we had great
support from on high: Lewis Sullivan [phonetic sp]
saying the balance between promoting
human health and protecting the welfare of
animals in research can and must be maintained. So here we have the first
insertion of the word “welfare” into an NIH
poster series, and these things are distributed
all around campus. And then, finally, on the
far right is the one that was published relevant
to the Environmental Enrichment Program that
we developed, again, to educate the internal
NIH community about the value of providing. And the first
thing on the list? Social housing. So here are those
black-and-white photos. So, shortly after I
started, the director of NIH at that time
was Dr. Wyngaarden, and he instructed the deputy
director for the intramural Research
Program, Dr. Ed Rall, to develop an NIH Nonhuman
Primate Management Plan. And the point of the plan
was to address the issue promoting the
psychological wellbeing of primates used in research. So his response was we
have this amendment to the Animal Welfare Act, the
USDA has not yet published its regulations, NIH wants
to get out front and see how we can address the
point and not wait for others to come along. This is a science-based
organization. Let’s develop a
plan accordingly. So that was the
philosophy, and that resulted in the
publication of this document, the NIH Nonhuman Primate Intramural Management Plan, so just for the NIH campus. Now, part of the
recommendations that came out of the plan were based
on two surveys, actually, the first one shortly
after the directive from Dr. Wyngaarden and Dr.
Rall down to me, was to evaluate — to do
a survey of the NIH primate-using community. And so at that time,
we could survey 56 investigators and five veterinarians from 10 institutes, centers, and divisions — that’s ICDs. At that time,
approximately 85 percent of the investigators
surveyed housed their primates individually, and
this resulted in about 70 percent
of the primates at the NIH being individually-housed. Approximately 52 percent
of investigators were or would be willing, as
they indicated in survey responses, to socially
house their primates. So that was our baseline. How do you develop a plan
if you don’t know where — what you’ve got
in your colony? Well, I’m sorry to say
that after three years of concerted effort we made
very minimal progress in social housing. However, we made, I think,
quite significant progress in
nonsocial enrichment techniques. Sixty-one percent of the
investigators surveyed in 1990 housed their primates
singly, with approximately 78 percent
of the primates managed by those investigators to
be housed singly. At that time, three years
after the initial survey, 46 percent — so a
lower number — of the investigators not social
housing their primates indicated a
willingness to do so. There was great
consternation among the scientific community at
the NIH, and
— but the plan marched forward and made the recommendation that social housing
should be considered an appropriate means of
providing enrichment in the cases where those
animal care and use committees approve an
animal study proposal that didn’t preclude it. So, again, if the protocol
stipulated individual housing for a scientific
reason, that was that. I think part of the
concern were reports similar to this one, and this one’s easy to highlight just because it got into the peer-reviewed public literature — or not peer-reviewed, but public literature. And this is the risks
associated with social housing. That was of great concern
to the research community back in the late
80s and early 90s. So, here Scott Line and
colleagues, including famous Hal Markowitz,
10 — they wanted to form a group of primates, and
10 of the 13 monkeys that they put together
sustained injuries during fights in the first eight days following group formation, and one female actually died of general trauma. So when you have reports
of that, it’s very
hard to — in the absence of data that now is more prevalent about the merits of social
housing both physiologically, immunologically, neurologically, it was
a hard sell to socially house our primates. But fast-forward the clock
just a few years to 1998, and what we have is an
entire report coming out of the national Research
Council on psychological
wellbeing of non-human primates and how to address it. And two key statements
out of this report are so significantly different
from the 1985 guide that I wanted to highlight
them for you. So this report said
“social interactions are considered to be one of
the most important factors influencing the
psychological wellbeing of nonhuman primates,”
and as a corollary to that, “knowing that most
primates benefit from social interactions, it
should be obvious that they can be harmed
by a lack of social interaction.” Powerful statements. So let’s just take a
minute to look at the changing philosophy
regarding social housing, and I’m going to use the
guide to illustrate this point because it is
perhaps one of the most used documents, and
what it says tends to be incorporated in our
programs around the country and
throughout the world. So you may have seen
a slide much like this presented by others, the
various iterations of the guide showing not only in
the early days its rather abbreviated format,
now in 2011 up to 154 pages — and I should note that
1985, ’96, and 2011 the page count does not
include appendices, which also thickened over time. But you can see the volume
increased, and so more content in each iteration of the guide just physically. But when you dissect it
down to social housing, the 1985 guide had just 25
lines of text dedicated to the subject, versus 34
lines of text in the 1996 guide. Now those — that’s not a
big difference in number of lines, but, of course,
that’s a very glossy way of looking at something. And when you look at the
actual words used, then you start seeing more
significant differences. And in addition, the
newer guide also addressed social housing in other
sections than just the social housing section. So, under space, for
example, reference was made to socially
housing animals. The 1985 guide talked
about caging systems in this manner; that they
should facilitate research while maintaining good
health of the animals. So, again, a rather stark
absence of any reference to behavior, to welfare. Just the health — the
physical health is what we were really worried
about at that point. In 1996, we started to
understand more by then that space is a very
complex topic, and things such as animal
performance, indices of health, reproduction,
growth, behavior, activity, and the use of
the space itself can be used to assess the
adequacy of the housing. So more than just is
the animal healthy? So, the 1996 guide was
seminal in many ways because it established a
broader horizon for social housing,
for environmental enrichment, and, indeed, the term “behavioral management,” which you heard referred to yesterday, really came into its own in
1996 in a venue that was, again, commonly used
throughout our industry. The Behavioral Management
Program was designed as essentially being
tripartite: comprised
of a structural environment, a social environment, and the activity
of the animal. The 1996 guide, in
referencing social housing, under the
behavioral management section says, “It’s
desirable that social animals be
housed in groups. When it’s appropriate
and compatible with the protocol, social animals
should be housed in physical contact
with conspecifics.” So we have that
first “should.” It’s not a must, it’s
not mandatory by AAALAC vernacular, but it is a
strong encouragement when you look at how “should”
is defined in the 1996 guide. They go on to say in 1996
that programs should allow conspecific social
interaction and the development
of hierarchies within or between enclosures, much as
what we saw with Steve Schapiro’s chimpanzees’ interactions between enclosures. Appropriate social
interactions among members of the same species — and
here conspecifics, again, is introduced into our
mainstream document — are essential to normal
development and wellbeing. Social environment might
buffer the effects of a stressful situation,
reduce behavioral abnormality, increase
opportunities for exercise, and expand
species-typical behavior and cognitive stimulation. And many of these points
have been very nicely illustrated by the
speakers today as well as yesterday. The guide was not all
rose-colored glasses, however, because there
is some discussion of the potential risks associated
with social housing: the need for training of
staff, recognition of behavior of the
species you’re working with, and that it is — it can be
risky for some species of animals. Now, moving to the 2011 guide, interestingly
— and for purposes of today, really wanted to draw out and call to your attention
— the section that was behavioral management was renamed “behavioral and social management.” So I think that placed
additional emphasis on what we’re seeing as
a very emerging theme through the evolution
of the guide, and in particular this 2011
document, where social housing has become
so highly profiled. And the document in 2011
says single housing of social species should
be the exception and justified based on
experimental requirements or veterinary-related
concerns about animal wellbeing. The need for single
housing should be reviewed on a regular basis by the
IACUC and veterinarian. Again, though, like the
1996 guide, the discussion of social housing is not
limited to just the social housing section. It appears in discussion
elsewhere through the document, including that
that’s referencing space, in particular under
non-human primates. Further emphases is placed
on social housing and states that the table of
space recommendations is based on the needs of
pair- or group housed animals, so no longer
based on just individually housed animals, so, again, predicating that this is going to be the baseline
method of housing. And like all social
animals, non-human primates should normally
have social housing. Now, obviously very small
print, not expecting
you to read it, but hopefully the big print you can see. I wanted to give a plug to
our colleagues at OLAW for developing a really
helpful FAQ on social housing, and, as was
referenced — I believe yesterday it was mentioned maybe in one of the break out groups. They had a very
informative webinar with Bob Willems from the USDA
and Axel Wolf from OLAW talking about non-human
primate enrichment and social housing. And I’ve covered some of
this before, but I wanted to go into a little
— in-depth on one part that I didn’t touch on
yesterday regarding AAALAC’s implementation of the 2011 guide and
expectations for social housing. We do recognize that, in
some cases, institutions are going
to need to purchase or modify existing caging
to address the social needs of their animals, and so what
the council determined was for big, significant changes
like that, kind of a capital improvement
change, they were going to give
a three-year phase-in period. Now, that clock started
September 1st, 2011, and so the clock ends
September 1st, 2014. Under that phase-in
period, the lack of appropriate caging
for social housing any species of animal — not just
primates; any species of animal — is going to be considered what we are calling a temporary suggestion for improvement. So that does not change
your accreditation status; however, after September
1st, 2014, it becomes a mandatory item
for correction. So the expectation is
we’ve given institutions a three-year heads
up; you’ve got to be social-housing
those animals that you can, and that may entail some
cage modification or cage purchase, and we’ve given three years for that to occur. So, we also recognized
that, at the end of three years, some
of our international clients who may have 10,000 primates
or more, and that cage replacement
may even be challenging to accomplish in three years,
might need even additional time. What council has
determined is that they better have a plan and
procurement schedule in place and that council
will then be demanding accomplishment of
various milestones for meeting that plan. So, council is very
serious about this, and they intend to follow it
quite closely with all of our accredited
institutions around the world. We did publish a
position statement. I commented yesterday on
how position statements are derived. For those of you that
were not in the audience yesterday, let me just
briefly summarize, or recap, that AAALAC tends
to rely on others to establish
standards, whether that be the governments
of different countries, the national academies,
scientific literature, but every once in a while AAALAC
publishes what it considers to be an
important standard that we refer to as
position statements. When council develops a
position statement, it is made available for 30-day
public comment period and then it is forwarded to
the executive committee of our board of trustees
for review and approval. So it is not something
we undertake lightly and, indeed, council views them
very seriously when they go out and conduct
site visits. And in this case, our
position statement emphasizes that AAALAC
considers social housing to be the default method
of housing unless there’s one of the three primary
reasons: the health of the animal, its behavior,
or scientific necessity, which has been reviewed
and approved by the IACUC or a comparable oversight body if it’s another country. And it goes on to talk
about, if the animal has to be singly housed, how to best deal with that. I also mentioned yesterday
that the council developed a
frequently-asked-question on social housing and
social experience, and there’s the URL. Again, I don’t want to
spend an inordinate amount of time on it because I
did so yesterday, but I didn’t feel this talk
would be complete because I do believe these steps
taken by OLAW and AAALAC reflect part of the whole
evolutionary process that we’ve been undergoing in
our views towards social housing, and that those
views are becoming more crystallized, that social
housing is an absolute unless there are one of those three reasons to have
to single-house the animals, no matter what species. So our
frequently-asked-question refers back to our
position statement, but also talks about this
concept of social experience that I
went into some detail yesterday. And just to reshow that
chart, where part-time social housing provides
one level of depth of social experience that’s
enriched greatly by full-time social housing,
but even full-time social housing can be further
enriched by other social experiences, whether
that’s dogs that are released with their
penmate out into a play yard with other dogs,
whether it’s cats that are taken out of their pair
house situation and put in a play room with other
cats, whether it’s — you know, you name it. Monkeys that are put
into an exercise room. There are opportunities
for yet even broader social experience. And so AAALAC does view
full-time social housing as the preferred method,
but recognizes that there will be situations where
perhaps part-time social housing may have to be
what is afforded the animal, but to
not ignore the social experience that can be offered that’s broader than the contact with a conspecific — physical contact with a conspecific. And we heard several
discussions today across species about whether the
human can be consider a conspecific, but certainly I think AAALAC would consider that part of the social experience that the animal has. AAALAC has also recorded
a podcast which was just uploaded to our website
earlier this week, and so I would encourage you
to go listen to that. We are intending to have
a series of podcasts on topics that are
of particular interest to accredited institutions. Social housing was the
first one, and it was a natural selection
to have this topic done first because it is one that we
are receiving many, many questions on. And it’s just about a
15-minute presentation usually with — it’ll be
Dr. John Bradfield, my colleague at the AAALAC
office interviewing someone knowledgeable in
the field, in this case Dr. Jeffrey Wyatt
from University of Rochester who some of you may know
has been doing a lot of work with social
housing of rabbits. So I’d encourage you to
go to our website, under “education and outreach,”
and click on the link. So I wanted to turn to
some other species just briefly. I do consult with an
institution that has a lot of dogs, and I am
aware that institutions have reasons for
single-housing dogs. And so, you know, this is
our standard — I don’t know if that’s the —
yes, this is what we would see, certainly in the old days,
but even today we still see some institutions
that single-house their dogs for specific
research reasons. I think the next step in
the evolution was this concept of having a kennel
— a run, if you will — made available to the
dogs, and Dr. Meunier was very good about showing
their more progressive version of that at GSK. Again, I think clearly
this is an older picture, and I use it for a
deliberate reason, because — I mean, yes, they
have more space and, yes, they’re probably socially
housed, but how does that look to you? Still pretty
institutionalized. So one of my clients has
done this, with a little encouragement. So what we have here is a
— are pairs of dogs, and they have tremendous
sightlines down the wing of the building. Recognizing that the color
vision is not that of humans, they still decided
to include some color, thinking that if it made
the overall environment more cheerful for the
people, that might also translate back
to the animals. There are sound baffles
in the room, there are windows in the room on
both sides of the kennel, and this is — these are
indoor/outdoor runs, and so the outside part —
although, again, this is now a slightly older
picture than this one, it’s still the same
building — goes to an outdoor run, and then there’s a fence here, and then every day the dogs are let out in small, compatible groups regardless of the weather, I might say. I think they have some
minimum criteria where the weather gets really —
if it’s really actively snowing or below a certain temperature, they don’t go outside. But even in — on a mild
snowy day, the dogs will go outside
and romp around in their play yard. They are afforded beds
and ramps to get up onto shelves, and this
allows them a lot more visibility. And as was described
earlier by Dr. Meunier, when the dogs can see
what’s coming, there seems to be less barking. And in this picture you
can see there are a number of us in the room, and
the dogs look really quite calm. So I consider this one of
the better indoor/outdoor run housing situations
that I’ve come across in my career. So kudos to this
institution. Now, when I was at NIH,
this is what we thought we were doing really,
really good for cats. And so this was a cat
area, and the technicians figured out how much the
cats really liked being able to look the windows,
the doors, see what was going on in the corridor
— I’m hoping, at a minimum, this is
still in place if these animals are still housed here —
that we added shelves and things for them
to play with. They were socially housed. This was not the entire
cat colony, but a group that could by protocol
be housed socially. And we thought at the time
that we were doing really well, and then a client
of mine, with some encouragement, did this. So I’m hoping you’re
sensing an evolution in how we’re housing a
variety of species, and you’ve seen wonderful
pictures from several other speakers today,
as well as yesterday. But these are animals on
active research protocols, some of them are on
metabolic studies, and with a little
encouragement the institution completely
abandoned the use of metabolic cages and
they’ve actually published on a system — what they
all a cageless system for collecting
urine and feces. And so the cats are
trained — they’re group-housed and they are
trained to go into the cageless urine and feces
collection system and do their business
and then exit. And no one has to spend
a minute in a metabolic cage. So they can remain
socially-housed and the investigators are getting
the data they need in a flawless manner. So I think it’s something
that we really — again, if you have — if you
bring the scientists together who have the
specific needs, and they may even have the
technological knowhow or they have some — we were
thinking about the dairy cattle that would go into
— get — you know, wear the collar and go into a
barn and get, you know, a certain amount
of feed, and we were thinking that system somehow
with these cats. And the scientist said,
“Oh, well let me think about this a little bit
more,” and they with, the veterinarians and those
of us who were consulting with them, came up
with a cageless system. So what you see here,
though, is not the cageless system, but,
instead, what we’ve — what we have are animal
housing rooms where cats are socially housed and
there are windows between rooms so the cats can view
into the room next door. Now, those of you that
know cat behavior fully understand they’re
not pack animals. They’re not social
like a dog would be. They do form social
relationships, but they are quite different
from many other species. But, regardless, what
we’ve been able to achieve is we’ve got ramps —
and this room has been modified even further, and
now one of their special rooms has ramps that
go all the way up and actually traverse almost
the ceiling and then come back down through
various steps. So they’re giving the cats
— which is an animal that likes three-dimensional
use of space — they’re giving the cats
that opportunity. They give them the
opportunity to have soft surfaces, they provide
multiple areas for critical resources such as
these soft beds, such as watering areas, such as
food bowls, and multiple litter boxes, of course,
and our formula with them is two boxes per cat, and
then we limit the number of cats per room,
otherwise the two boxes per cat doesn’t work. And the cats — they were
initially quite nervous about giving the cats protected outdoor space, worrying about birds flying in, bugs crawling in,
and what that would do to their data, and one brave scientist said, “You know, it might not affect my data, but let’s just see what the incidence is.” And so that individual’s
cats were put in a pilot of what ultimately became
an entire outdoor wing. This is obviously fenced
in and it, again, provides them with three-dimensional space so that they can continue to be socially housed and have indoor/outdoor access. Again, cats in groups,
perhaps like the rabbits we were hearing about
earlier, need a little space sometimes to get
away from each other. So, I think you can get
a good sense of color — again, not that cats have
color vision like we do — hiding places, again, soft surfaces, and opportunities for view lines into other spaces, and indoor/outdoor, all to accommodate social housing. So this institution has
gone to fairly significant lengths to
accomplish this for both their dogs and their cats. So I talked earlier
that were perhaps some additional topics that
come up when all of us are looking at social housing,
and the biggest one seems to center on cage space
and what is appropriate cage space? So, it’s not
that this is new. Again, I’m taking that
historical perspective. Back in 1996, when we
wrote in the guide that for some primates you
wouldn’t necessarily have to double the cage space
if they were compatible, and what we had in mind
were the monkeys — the young monkeys you’ve all
seen that hug each other and stay in close
proximity to each other in a very positive way. And — but, if you did
additive cage space, it was going to be in the
better interest of the institution to
just separate them and house them individually to get
the density that they wanted. So we added that language
in the ’96 guide that there might be behavioral
reasons where you didn’t have to make cage space
additive, that the behavior of the animal
could be more important than an inch or two, which
may have absolutely no meaning to a
particular animal. Well, that set up a
fervor, needless to say, at the time. Some of the federal agency
representatives were a little unhappy that we
had done that, but we said we’re not writing this for
anybody but the community and the animals and
this is what we feel. So it stayed in, but it
does beg the question of cage space. So the debate started back
— at least back then, if not even earlier. And of course, now, as was
referenced earlier today, cage space for a number
of species of animals is becoming a big question. If we’re going to socially
house rabbits, do we need to give them very
large enclosures? If we’re going to
group-house mice without aggression, how do we
evaluate that and how do we determine what
the best space is? So, looking at mice,
because that seems to be where a lot of the
energy is focused on the question, Hanno Würbel and
I published a review not that long ago on mouse
enrichment, and we took on the subject of cage space
and did what, at the time — it’s about a
year-and-a-half old now — was a very thorough
literature review on how people evaluated cage
space for mice and why one article would say,
“Maximum of three mice in a cage,” and why another
would say, “Gee, five is fine, and we see
no problems.” And we dissected that out,
and I would just refer you to the book chapter
because it’s way too complicated an issue
to talk about in the remaining time. But it became — as
we social house, this stimulated this entire
question about addressing cage space and how do we
keep our colony densities approximate to what they
are now if we have to wind up offering
more cage space. How do we social-house in
the right space so that we’re not inducing
aggression or we’re not inducing some guarding
of a resource? And so what we found in
our literature review was no surprise: varying
recommendations regarding suitable densities, and in
some cases it was because different strains were
trying to be compared, which I just don’t
think you can do. I really believe the mouse
question’s a lot more complicated than the
primate question. And in some studies they
would take the standard cage box and increase
animal density, and in other studies they’d take
the average animal density of, say, five and
shrink the cage space. So you have really quite
different approaches to evaluating population
density, and needless to say, and no surprise, different results are generated depending upon how you address this question. And so I’m delighted to
see that this is still being investigated because
I don’t think we’re going to — I don’t believe
we’re ever going to come up with a
cookie-cutter approach. So we — I — there is
some good, solid studies out there that suggest
that transgenic — some transgenic strains really
need a fewer number of animals in a cage. Others, because of their
fragility, probably need a little bit more
for the temperature in the cage and, whatever,
the support. I’m not sure, but clearly
we’re going to have to take this almost, I think,
on a case-by-case basis. And then, you know, do all
the measured parameters reflect the state of
an animal’s welfare? And I don’t know the
answer to that, and I put that out there as perhaps
something that we’ve wrestled with
historically, we’ve not answered, and I’m hoping,
as we continue down this path in the future,
we’ll continue to assess. So if your toenails don’t
grow as fast, which one report did say in a
primate, does that mean negative welfare? Maybe. Maybe it’s connected to
something else, but I just don’t know. So when you have
parameters like that in the published literature,
I’m not necessarily sure how — whether we should
weight that the same as perhaps changes in our
immunology or changes in our blood profiles or
our heart rates or our cortisol levels. It’s just — we have to, I
think, evaluate in a very objective, very
parsimonious manner the parameters that are being
evaluated in each of these studies and try and
extrapolate whether that really matters to
the animal, meaning a mani-pedi a little
more often may not hurt the monkey. So it just — we just
don’t know whether some parameters really reflect
the state of welfare. So, you saw some really
great pictures earlier today on some of the
concerns with social housing of some mice,
and the barbering and the fighting are clearly
issues that are being addressed, being
investigated, there’s more knowledge being generated,
more information that’s going to guide our further
and future actions. I don’t think we’re
there yet, but it’s very encouraging to me
to see how this body of literature is increasing. And this was referenced
yesterday by our OLAW colleagues, this webinar
that was presented by OLAW that brought in
discussions from Joe Garner and Guy Mulder and
Axel Wolff, who’s here in the audience, and it
was really well done. So if you haven’t listened
to it, please go back and — there’s some wonderful
information in it. We had an excellent talk
today about social housing of rabbits. The point was made quite
well: rabbits are social animals. And so if you just read
the guide strictly, then you would think the
expectation is to socially house those animals
in the laboratory. What has happened with
the new guide is I believe there are these renewed
attempts to pair or group-house our rabbits,
and the problem, of course, as has been
described very nicely, is longstanding reports —
longstanding reports back into the 60s — of
aggression between rabbits housed in laboratory
conditions. But there are also reports
of successful social housing of rabbits, and
those are the bright lights, if you will. And like the mouse
literature, I think we have to drilldown and
determine what are the similarities and
differences in these studies where the folks at
Drexel, I guess you said it was, are successful
with five rabbits in an enormous amount of space,
which — most of us probably can’t commit
to five rabbits. And Canada and Europe,
where they are able to socially house at
least some rabbits. And the same
story for mice. So we did have some
discussions earlier about when the rabbits mature. I just think this thing
about when good bunnies go bad is pretty amusing; the challenges of bunny teenagers. And this actually came
from more of a pet industry website. So this is not an issue
that is singular to laboratory
animal research. It’s one that others
are wrestling with. So, Vera Baumans and Van
Loo, they published just last year — and this is
available on the web at this URL — and they had
this wonderful graphic in the article that, you
know, I thought fit in very nicely
with a talk about a historical perspective. So on the top — again,
these are European slides, but they illustrate
the same point. On the top is old-style,
circa 1960 rat caging; the middle picture is rat
caging circa 1990; and then the more modern
cage, circa 2010. So, again, showing
this evolution. Clearly more cage height
has occurred when you look at that, more enrichment,
although the social housing has been the same
across the decades, for rats at least, but as
we’ve heard, they’re a little bit easier
to socially house. So, as I come to the end
of my presentation, I want to save a little time for
questions, if there are any. I love this phrase:
the past is prologue. The past can tell
us about the future. And so what we have
here is the design of enclosures and how we’re
— so, we used to house monkeys as they come in
from India in large groups and we had problems, and
now we’re talking again about housing monkeys
in groups but in a more informed, more
knowledgeable way, in facilities that are
designed better to accommodate that kind
of group housing. So we haven’t come
full-circle, but we’re building on information
that we learned from the past so that we can help
design equipment and facilities that will allow
us to house our animals in an appropriate manner. So — including visual
breaks and hiding areas, accommodating the vertical
tendencies of many species, whether that’s
rats that rear up or cats that like to jump up onto
shelves, primates that flee — you know, their
first response is to jump up and back to a threat. And ease of removal from
the cage when there are multiple animals. I mean, we’ve got a lot
of positive reinforcement training programs for a
variety of species, from clicker training of
cats to primates. Rats, I believe, have
been clicker trained. So a lot of ways in
which training is being implemented to allow us
to continue to access individual animals
despite their social housing. And then design
of facilities. As you’ve seen, I tried to show, particularly
for the dogs and cats, two examples that I’ve been
particularly involved in myself. They’re evolving, as well. So even though they may
look the same in terms of physical structure that
we have — pens or runs, rooms — but they are
really designed quite differently to accommodate
the behaviors of the species that are
being housed therein. And so here’s a facility
that I’m working with that is changing over and
adding outdoor runs with better sightlines and
allowing the animals to have a type of outdoor
run that’s not promoting jumping up on fences and
other behaviors that start a whole series of aroused
and excitation among other dogs in the facility. Carrying on with the past
is prologue: I think we’re seeing and I would
continue to encourage
you to offer training of your staff, certainly socializing behavior
— socialization behavior and how — what are the
signals the animals are giving off, no matter the
species, but certainly, even broader than that,
what is the behavioral biology of the animal, its
natural behaviors, because they don’t all disappear
in a laboratory and it’s a good starting place
for staff to understand them. I think this is
really important. I work with a program that
had me come in and train their staff who are
working with primates, and the animals were getting
ready to be moved into a social housing situation
and the technician was six-foot-something. He towered over me. And he was — like I do,
he’s gesticulating, but when I walk in a primate
room I make a point of holding my hands. He was gesticulating
wildly and the monkeys kept jumping back into
the back of the cage every time he moved his arm. And he was tall enough
that, you know, the second-tier animals were
really quite responsive to his gesticulation, and he
had no idea he was evoking that kind of response. And then we’d have the
mutual threat by the animals at him, and it was
just a matter of training him to understand that
his behavior impacted each animals’ behavior, and if
they were socially housed, then the pair mate was
also responding, as well — what we heard
about yesterday. So that training is
really important. And I think globalization
is going to continue to influence laboratory
animal housing and management practices. Europe has a profound
effect on multinational companies that are located
here in the United States that might have their home
base in Europe, certainly with cage space, the
strong support for environmental enrichment
and social housing that is present in Europe and
has certainly been emphasized under the revised
directive. So there are countries
that impact other countries, and I would
say that the U.S. and Europe and
Canada, we impact many countries in Asia as we bring them
along in terms of our thinking about animal
welfare and how best to house animals. So there is this potential
for global influence, and that is the benefit of a
document like the guide, which last time around
was translated into 12 different languages. So it’s quite possible
that it could have a similar amount of
translations this time and have still a very
international influence, particularly with AAALAC
using it as it does site visits. So globalization is not
something we can ignore. Everything that we do
certainly has an impact on other
institutions around the world. I just want to conclude
with this quote from Winston Churchill, which I
think is a good way to sum up my philosophy for
this presentation. “Every day you
make progress. Every step may
be fruitful. Yet there will stretch
out before you an ever-lengthening,
ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from
discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory
of the climb.” Thank you very much. [applause] Questions? I’m still green here, so
— I figured on history there’s probably not going
to be too many questions. Many of you
lived it with me. All right. Thank you again.

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