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RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Meeting 2020 - 

Cumulative Experiences

Wednesday 7 October, online

This year’s meeting will focus on the cumulative experiences of laboratory rodents. The first session will address how we might use science to understand the long term welfare of rodents, and how cumulative experiences affect wellbeing over their lifetimes. The second session will focus on practical ways to use this knowledge to better assess rodent welfare, reduce suffering and improve their lives at the cageside. There will also be an update from a Home Office Inspector and we will close with a discussion session.




Introduction - Penny Hawkins, RSPCA and Huw Golledge, UFAW

Session one: The science of cumulative severity


Neural indicators of cumulative severity

Tom Smulders, University of Newcastle explains current knowledge about changes in brain structure due to chronic stress


Using welfare science to understand animals’ experiences and needs

Lars Lewejohann, Freie Universität Berlin gives an overview of animal welfare science, including preference and consumer demand tests


Can home cage behaviour be used to assess cumulative welfare in laboratory mice?
Aileen MacLellan/Georgia Mason/Andrea Polanco, University of Guelph discuss the potential use of home cage behaviours as an indicator of cumulative welfare and highlight the challenges involved in this approach


Lunch including virtual poster session

Session two: Practical refinements to reduce cumulative severity and promote wellbeing


Small refinements to improve lifetime welfare

Paulin Jirkof, Universität Zürich takes a look at the positive cumulative impacts of refinements, and the potential to add rehoming to the lifetime experience


Development of a visual approach to severity assessment

Jackie Boxall and Helen Murphy, GSK provide a progress report on a new, user friendly welfare assessment tool which takes account of severity and duration


Establishing trust with laboratory rats: How long does it really take?’

Patricia Turner, Charles River Laboratories





A good life for laboratory rodents?

Joanna Makowska, University of British Columbia sets out a vision of a ‘good life’ for laboratory rats and mice and discusses a roadmap for achieving this


Home Office update

Charlotte Inman, Animals in Science Regulation Unit (ASRU)


Interactive session; suggested topics below


Wrap up and close - Huw and Penny


 Possible interactive discussion topics (to be voted on by participants):

●        How can animal technologists raise awareness and persuade scientists of the potential for cumulative suffering and the need to recognise harms and promote positive experiences? Do they receive enough training and support; if not, what would they need?

●        The Animals in Science Committee recommended that ASRU ‘Define clearly the concept of lifetime experience in terms of what can and should be considered and assessed by the regulator within the harm-benefit analysis process’. What should be included?

●        How do we know if cumulative suffering is present, in rodents cageside?


Registration is now closed.

Please click below to register for the meeting. To register you will need to provide your name, email address and institutional affiliation (if relevant). Information you share during registration for this meeting will be shared with UFAW and the RSPCA (and also with our Webinar software provider – GoToWebinar).

We want to provide a secure forum, allowing free discussion between participants, so registration will be restricted to those who are directly or indirectly involved with laboratory rodent care and use.

This meeting is free to attend, but we would very much appreciate your support in the form of a donation to allow us to continue to offer these meetings. Both charities rely on donations to carry out their work.

All donations will be divided equally between the two organisers of the conference – The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (Registered Charity No 207996) and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Registered charity no. 

Should you wish to donate individually to either charity please visit our websites:




Thank you, your support is greatly appreciated.