Spec. Issue 2006 - Article Summary

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Importance and effects of enrichment on physiology, behaviour and breeding performance in mice

Ping-Ping Tsai, Helge D. Stelzer, Anke Schraepler and Hansjoachim Hackbarth
Institute for Animal Welfare and Behaviour, School of Veterinary Medicine, D-Hannover
Sixty DBA/2 breeding pairs were used to understand the influence of enrichment on breeding performance. Four inbred strains of mice (A/J, BALB/c, C57BL/6 and DBA/2) were used for sequential experiments, in a total number of 240 (half for each sex), to collect information about the effect of enrichment on physiological traits and behavioural tests. Non-enriched and enriched groups were always provided with the same cage type to avoid the influence of floor space on agonistic behaviour, which can lead to different inter-individual distances.
According to the presented results environmental enrichment can affect experimental results and will not automatically improve wellbeing. Furthermore “Reduction” and “Refinement” may conflict with each other. Thus it will be necessary to evaluate the effects of environmental enrichment before an enrichment design is applied for a given experiment.

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