The Effect of an Environmental Enrichment Device on Individually Caged Rabbits in a Safety Assessment Facility
The primary enclosure of a laboratory animal’s environment should encourage species-typical behavior and enhancement of the animal’s well-being, as indicated by the Guide. Enrichment devices have been documented to decrease the incidence of stereotypical behaviors and increase overall activity of rabbits. An 8-week study was performed to evaluate the effect of an environmental enrichment device, stainless-steel rabbit rattles on spring clips, on individually housed rabbits in a Safety Assessment facility. We used 48 New Zealand White rabbits; the devices were placed on cages of 32 study rabbits, and 16 control rabbits had no devices. Food consumption measurements and observations of device manipulations (taken during a predetermined peak interaction 1-h timeframe) were collected 5 days per week
Evaluation of Objects and Food for Environmental Enrichment of NZW Rabbits
The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals states that both structural and social environments should be considered when addressing the husbandry needs of laboratory animals. The purpose of this study was to investigate environmental enrichment strategies that could potentially enhance the well-being of rabbits. Male and female 6-week old New Zealand White rabbits were divided into three groups: food-enriched (Bunny Stix, Bunny Blocks, or celery), non-food enriched (Jingle Ball, Kong toy, or Nylabone), and not enriched. Animals were given a particular enrichment for 1 h daily for 15 days. Home cages were fitted with specially designed plexiglass doors, which allowed the animals’ interactions with the objects to be videotaped. The amount of time the animal interacted with each object and the total activity during the 1-h taped session were recorded for each rabbit.