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NC3Rs | 20 Years: Pioneering Better Science

Evaluating environmental enrichment

A guide to conducting welfare-focused trials on a variety of species. 

Summary

Evaluations of environmental enrichment allow animal technicians to make confident, welfare-focused decisions. However, overcoming the challenges of assessing enrichment within a research setting and knowing where to start can be intimidating. 

This workshop will introduce laboratory animal technicians to resources that can help them make informed decisions about the suitability of environmental enrichment items for animals within their facility. It aims to empower technical staff to undertake robust evaluations of environmental enrichment items and assess their impact on animal welfare. This information can then also be applied to other welfare-focused trials. 

  • Audience: Technicians and facility managers. 
  • Format: Interactive workshop, in-person or online. 
  • Length: Two hours. 

Objectives

  • Understand why evaluations of enrichment are important and useful in an animal laboratory setting. 
  • Understand the process of an evaluation and the importance of considering the natural behaviours of captive animals. 
  • Gain an understanding of how to measure laboratory animal welfare in the context of environmental enrichment. 
  • Work through activities reinforcing the practical application of good experimental design at different stages of a welfare-focused trial. 
  • Be aware of further resources available to support the evaluation of environmental enrichment, including practical resources created by the NC3Rs in collaboration with the RSPCA and the IAT. 

Audience

The primary audience for this workshop is animal technicians and facility managers hoping to perform welfare-focused studies in their units or those already doing this work looking to improve their current approach.

The principles covered in this workshop apply across species so the content will be applicable regardless of which animals the attendees typically care for. 

To get the most out of this session we suggest attendees view the recording of the "Evaluations of environmental enrichment" webinar as a prerequisite. 

Format

This material is typically delivered as a two hour workshop which is equally suited to in-person or online delivery. 

What we need from you

  • For in-person delivery, a seminar room or similar space that facilitates small group work with appropriate audio-visual set-up. 
  • For online delivery, a list of attendees with institutional email addresses. 
  • A minimum of 15 attendees. Please contact us if you would like to arrange this training for a smaller facility where this would not be practical. 
  • To discuss these requirements or to find out more, please contact us

What we will provide

  • Staff to deliver the talk and facilitate small group work during the interactive exercises. 
  • Digital copies of the material for these exercises shared with the organiser ahead of the workshop for dissemination. Hard copies will be provided on the day if necessary.  
  • A pdf copy of the slides after the workshop for dissemination to attendees. 
  • The member(s) of staff that delivered the workshop will also be contactable via email for further follow-up. 

Expression of interest

If you would like to book this course or discuss further, please contact the regional team

Get in touch for further information or to book this session.

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