What do animals want?

Motivation is a central concept for animal welfare; it has inspired methodological breakthroughs and generated a wealth of crucial empirical work. As the field develops beyond its original mandate to alleviate the suffering of animals in intensive farming systems, the assumptions behind the current models of motivation may warrant closer scrutiny. In this paper, I […]

The physiological and behavioural impacts of and preference for an enriched environment in the eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)

The physiological and behavioural impact of, as well as preference for, enriched versus barren environments was determined for captive eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina). Thirty-eight box turtles were randomized to either barren (flat newspaper substrate) or enriched (cypress mulch substrate, shredded paper and a hide box) enclosures for a 1-month period. Complete blood counts, […]

Animal welfare and consumer demand theory: Are preference tests a luxury we can’t afford?

Rats seem indifferent between their own scent-marked homecages and clean cages

Previous large-scale, long-term studies suggest that rat welfare is little affected by cage-cleaning frequency. Here, we investigate this further using a preference test: arguably a more sensitive welfare indicator than those used previously. Nine pairs of rats were each housed in two interconnected cages of differing cleanliness. One cage was cleaned every 3–4 days, while […]

Development and application of a preference test system to evaluate housing conditions for laboratory rats

Improved knowledge of the ethological needs of laboratory animals can be used not only to verify current guidelines on laboratory animal housing, but also to refine these guidelines if desirable. Carefully chosen experiments can provide valid information about preferences or aversions towards specific housing conditions. The results of preference tests should be interpreted carefully and […]

Preferences for nest boxes as environmental enrichment for laboratory mice

In nature, mice live in burrows with nest chambers where they breed and may hide from predators. In the laboratory, a shelter or refuge is an, easily applicable form of enrichment which may enhance the welfare of laboratory mice by giving them more control over their environment. Six nest boxes made of difJerent materials were […]