Mice have been, and remain the most commonly used animal in scientific research in most of the world, including in Switzerland (according to both the annual statistics on animal use in Switzerland, and the Swiss 3RCC's own report on animal use in experimentation). Not counted in those statistics is the number of mice that are only included in breeding programs, or simply that do not take part in a licensed animal experimentation for other reasons. Every single one of those mice are directly handled by a person in the breeding facility or research lab on a regular basis. Therefore, the manner in which mice are handled is of large interest for animal welfare and to which extent this handling could affect experimental outcomes, will be fundamentally important to scientific results.
As a first step towards promoting the use of non-aversive handling methods at all levels of experimentation across Switzerland, we first needed to understand the current status of such techniques in Switzerland and identify potential barriers to the implementation of non-aversive mouse handling techniques. Therefore, the 3RCC collected information from 230 participants (including scientists, animal care takers and veterinarians) across a range of Swiss institutions regarding the use of non-aversive handling methods.
A Graphical Report was created to show and comment on the results of the survey. Additionally, Culture of Care and refinement workshops are in preparation in collaboration with several Swiss universities.
Armand Mensen (contact person), Paulin Jirkof, Chantal Britt, Gieri Camenisch, Birgit Ledermann, and Andrina Zbinden