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NC3Rs: National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research
Office-led project

Harmonisation of welfare indicators for macaques and marmosets

At a glance

In progress
Current contacts


  • Refinement
Cynomolgus macaque looking at the camera with a plastic swing in the background


Accurate assessment of animal welfare is key for effective implementation of refinement. Despite the importance of welfare assessment in non-human primate research, there is little consensus on what indicators should be measured. To address this, we conducted the largest ever Delphi consultation to identify and rank the top welfare indicators for non-human primates used or bred for research.

Working with colleagues from Newcastle University and Yerkes National Primate Research Center, attendees of the 2019 NC3Rs Primate Welfare Meeting were surveyed to build consensus on which welfare indicators for macaques and marmosets are reliable, valid, and practicable in a laboratory context, and how these can be measured. The results are under review in F1000 Research.

Greater harmonisation of welfare indicators between facilities would enable greater collaboration and data sharing to address welfare-related questions in the management and use of non-human primates.

The findings for macaques were compared with a previous Delphi consultation and the expert-defined consensus from the two surveys used to develop a generalised, practical protocol for assessing macaque welfare in research settings – the GEN-MAC. Together the Delphi results and protocol enable those working with monkeys to more effectively assess, monitor and maximise the health and wellbeing of the animals in their care.

To facilitate use of the GEN-MAC protocol in practice, an Excel version is available to download: Generalised macaque welfare assessment protocol (GEN-MAC) – Excel version

Working group

Name Affiliation
Dr Mark Prescott NC3Rs
Dr Matthew Leach Newcastle University
Ms Melissa Truelove Yerkes National Primate Research Center


  1. Prescott MJ, Leach MC, Truelove MA. Harmonisation of welfare indicators for macaques and marmosets used or bred for research. 11: 272.