An exploratory interview study of researchers’ and technicians’ perceptions of rat tickling

ES Beechener, Sarah M Brown, VB Bombail, Megan R. LaFollette, Ignacio Vinuela-Fernandez, AB Lawrence

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Abstract

This paper highlights the main themes which emerged from a study carried out with Animal Technicians and researchers to better understand:
• perceptions of rat tickling
• potential drivers and barriers to the uptake of tickling
in a laboratory environment
The interviewees indicated they had positive attitudes towards rats and the idea of rat tickling with positive comments about rats’ social behaviour, their intelligence and their capacity to interact with Animal Technicians and
researchers.
The participants indicated that barriers to wider uptake of rat tickling including time constraints, a lack of training in the specifics of rat tickling and how to interpret rat responses to tickling. In addition, there was mention of concerns over tickling affecting experimental integrity and the need to maintain professional detachment from rats as experimental animals.

Keywords

  • Laboratory animal welfare

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