SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Housing and Handling in RTT

Animals in Research, Testing and Teaching

SPCA supports continuous improvements in animal management practices and environments to ensure animals used in research, testing, and teaching have a “Good Life” where they experience positive welfare for the entirety of their life and their physical, health, and behavioural needs are met.

SPCA advocates for personnel to stay up to date with international best practices for housing and handling use of animals in research, testing, and teaching. All housing standards must include animal-based measures for animals used in research, testing, and teaching, including animals used as breeding stock, to meet their physical and health needs and to perform their behavioural repertoires.

An enrichment programme must be implemented and monitored to ensure the animals used in research, testing, and teaching have their species-specific and individual physical, health, and behavioural needs met. Enrichment programmes should include structural, social, sensory, dietary and/or occupational enrichment.

SPCA supports the use of low-stress force-free handling and training methods that considers both the species and individual needs of the animal to minimise negative welfare impacts. Methods of low-stress handling include habituating animals to handling, using equipment (such as rodent tunnels and knotless nets for handling fish) to move animals that prevents contact with people, and using positive reinforcement to encourage animals to participate in a manipulation when possible. Animals must not be chased or restrained tightly to where breathing is impeded, or they suffer physical harms.

SPCA opposes housing standards for animals used in research, testing, and teaching with no consideration that include for species-appropriate enrichment.

(See The 3Rs: Replacement, Reduction, Refinement for more information)

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