A method to develop an effective animal welfare protocol: laboratory mice

I Campos Luna, F Wemelsfelder, A Miller, A Beard, Matthew C Leach

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


In animal welfare, effective protocols are designed to assess all components of welfare including physical and psychological states as well as the environment that houses the animal. The aim of this study was to create a laboratory mouse welfare protocol that includes all aspects of welfare. The construction of this protocol comprised 3 phases: [1] input of experts through a Delphi consultation, [2] validation of Qualitative Behavioural Assessment (QBA) for assessing the behavioural expressions (emotional states). This validation forms part of a project exploring the utility of the QBA in laboratory animals for the first time. It used free choice profiling, fixed expression validation approach and cross-validation with other welfare measures. Finally, in phase [3] the indicators derived from the Delphi consultation and QBA were aggregated into a single protocol and its reliability and practicability were assessed in different laboratory facilities. A total of 98 participants completed the final round in the Delphi study with a consensus of 72% being reached. Hunch posture, coat condition, exhibition of normal and abnormal behaviour and usage of nesting material were chosen, irrespective of the nature of the assessment being carried out (daily assessment or welfare audit). The Free Choice Profiling data for the QBA was analysed with GPA (General Procrustes Analysis). The results show a significant agreement between participants in their assessment (P<0.001). The GPA found two main dimensions that accounted for the 78% of the variation observed. Dimension 1 was characterised as ‘inquisitive’/’alert’ versus ‘in pain’/’lethargic’ and dimension 2 as ‘calm’/content’ versus ‘agitated’/’stressed’. The 3-phase process used to construct the final protocol better guarantees the validity of the indicators it contains, as it encompasses all aspects of mouse laboratory welfare including a novel method of assessing psychological welfare (QBA).
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPrint publication - 2018
EventUFAW International Animal Welfare Science Symposium 2018: Recent advances in animal welfare science VI - Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Jun 2018 → …


ConferenceUFAW International Animal Welfare Science Symposium 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityNewcastle upon Tyne
Period28/06/18 → …
Internet address


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