Sounds produced by animals form an important element in their
communication repertoire for instance, it is important during
courtship, mothering, excitement, aggression and defence. High
ambient noise levels will interfere with this communication.
It follows that it is necessary to control sound levels to make sure
they remain within acceptable levels. The starting point in
reducing noise is to identify the sources in animal facilities. For
• Animals themselves – most species make some noise but
usually it is fairly low level and does not cause problems.
However, some, e.g. dogs, primates and pigs, produce
sounds that often exceed 90dBA, a level that will cause
permanent hearing loss in humans. Rooms holding these
animals should be fitted with sound insulation and sound
absorbing materials. Quiet animals should be housed away
from the noisy ones so that they will not be disturbed by
them. Humans must wear ear protectors when entering
rooms of noisy species, particularly at feeding time.
• Appropriate apparatus – traditional metal cages, bins etc.
have given way to modern plastic versions which has
drastically reduced day to day noise production in the
animal facility. Human activity can still generate noise so
staff have to be aware and work as quietly as possible.
‘Silentone’ fire alarms produce sound at a frequency that
humans can hear but that the more sensitive animals
cannot, the CoP requires these to be fitted as long as they
do not compromise human safety.
• Routines – it is impossible not to generate noise with
some animal facility activities, for instance cage cleaning