welfare. For those concerned with welfare it is extremely tempting to rapidly
deploy and rely upon newly developed methods which promise improved
detection of poor welfare. However, deciding which techniques are useful
requires careful consideration of what one wants to achieve by scoring welfare
followed by an examination of the suitability of the test to achieve that aim.
This talk will consider how best to assess the suitability of a technique for use
in cage-side welfare assessment.
The ideal welfare assessment is a test that provides an immediate, non-invasive
indicator of the welfare state of the animal (so-called cage-side assessment)
whereby any signs of poor welfare are detected and can be acted upon
providing treatment to ameliorate suffering or euthanasia if the suffering
cannot be treated. Cage-side assessment is analogous to a diagnostic test used
in clinical medicine. An ideal cage-side welfare assessment needs to be both
sensitive (able to reliably identify poor welfare) and specific (able to reliably
identify animals not suffering poor welfare). There are clearly consequences if
suffering animals are not identified and go untreated (lack of sensitivity
leading to false negative results) but there may also be consequences to
misidentifying healthy animals as suffering such as needlessly treating healthy
animals (lack of specificity leading to false positives). The suitability of various
techniques as cage-side welfare indicators were discussed, arguing that some
methods currently in use cannot be relied upon as cage-side welfare indicators
due to their lack specificity and/or sensitivity.
Other methods may be sensitive and specific but impractical, for instance if
they rely on post-hoc data analysis and therefore do not allow for rapid
intervention to relieve poor welfare. Techniques which are not suitable to be
cage-side welfare indicators may have other uses, for instance in classifying the
retrospective severity of procedures; as ‘epidemiological’ indicators of poor
welfare; or as group-level indicators of the efficacy of an intervention, more
analogous to the measurements used in clinical trials. Tests can be considered
even though they lack the specificity or sensitivity to be a cage-side welfare
indicator, as they could still be applied to improve animal welfare.
This talk could hopefully provide a framework for deciding which tests are the
most appropriate welfare indicators for a given scenario.
Maria Martinez – RAnTech, Primate NACWO, University of Oxford
Monkey business – behavioural management of laboratory primates
Macaques are socially and cognitively complex animals, characteristics that