Lectures and seminars Webinar: "The evidence base for refined methods of handling mice"
Routine handling of laboratory animals is an essential but frequently ignored component of animal experiments that has considerable potential to influence anxiety and aversion to human approach and contact. The aim of these CPD webinars (Continuing professional development) is to follow the legal requirements for maintenance and demonstration of competence in laboratory animal science, and to facilitate the implementations of the 3R’s in routine animal work.
"The evidence base for refined methods of handling mice"
Routine handling of laboratory animals is an essential but frequently ignored component of animal experiments that has considerable potential to influence anxiety and aversion to human approach and contact.
Studies from our laboratory have shown that the method used to pick up laboratory mice is critical. Picking up mice by the tail induces aversion and high anxiety (even if their weight is supported), whereas use of handling tunnels or scooping mice up on the open hand (cupping) leads to voluntary approach to handling, low anxiety and acceptance of physical restraint. These responses appear to be quite consistent across strains and sexes of mice, across different laboratories, across handlers with different levels of prior experience, and whether animals are handled in the light or dark phases of the diurnal cycle. Mice picked up using a handling tunnel or scooped on the open hand also show substantially improved performance in a simple behavioural test involving the discrimination of novel test stimuli, whereas those picked up by the tail show little willingness to explore a test arena and investigate test stimuli.
Other laboratories have shown improved glucose tolerance and reduced stress hormone levels when using non-aversive handling methods, or improved responsiveness to sucrose rewards, compared to tail handled mice. In this webinar, I will review the evidence currently available on the responses of mice to different methods for routine handling.
Prof. Jane L. Hurst, Mammalian Behaviour & Evolution Group, Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, UK.
Professor Hurst joined the University of Liverpool as the William Prescott Chair of Animal Science in 1998. As joint head of the University’s Mammalian Behaviour and Evolution Group, her research focuses on scent communication in mammals, rodent behaviour and ecology, and laboratory animal welfare. Pioneering work led by Professor Hurst over the past 10 years showed that a simple change to how laboratory mice are handled can make a big difference to their welfare and has since led to the widespread uptake of her non-aversive handling methods across the research sector. The important impact of this change has been recognised through the NC3Rs 2010 prize, the SVG 2019 prize and an OBE in 2020.
Currently, she is a Board member of the UK National Centre for 3Rs (NC3Rs), Deputy Chair of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Appointments Board, and a member of the Royal Society’s Research Appointment Panel.
Register here (by April 5).