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The standards and conditions in animal husbandry have a significant impact on animal welfare beyond the given demands. While legal standards define the minimum requirements, much more could be done if additional resources were available. The specific needs for additional 3R support can only be defined by those persons who are directly involved in animal husbandry, are in charge of animal welfare and often act as an interface between animal husbandry and research groups. Hence, this call is dedicated to the employees of FEM (Research Facilities for Experimental Medicine), including animal welfare officers and animal caretakers, and the members of the animal welfare boards, providing the opportunity to implement their ideas on 3R improvements and implementation. Scientists are also accepted as co-applicants if their participation is necessary for the implementation, e.g., measuring the effectiveness of the proposed measure.
Alternative method for the use of PMSG in mice
The aim of the project "Alternative method for the use of PMSG in mice" is to establish an alternative for the use of a specific sex hormone used in the breeding of mice. The hormone Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotropin (PMSG) is secreted by pregnant horses and stimulates ovarian function so that animals so stimulated develop increased numbers of eggs. These, in turn, are needed for breeding genetically modified mouse lines and wild types.
However, since the extraction of PMSG involves considerable stress for the pregnant mares, it is important to test substitutes. While alternative substances have already been successfully used in pig breeding, there has been a lack of corresponding studies in mice to date. This is where the project of Dr. Geert Michel, Head of Transgenic Technologies at FEM, comes in. In cooperation with Prof. Christa Thöne-Reineke from the Institute of Animal Welfare, Animal Behavior and Laboratory Animal Science at the Free University Berlin, the project aims to investigate the efficacy of a synthetic analogue to PMSG for breeding mouse embryos.
Spreading activity based refinement for rats by a new cage concept and various tools
The aim of the other project "Spreading activity based refinement for rats by a new cage concept and various tools" of the animal welfare officers Dr. Juliane Unger, Dr. Konstanze Grote and Dr. Anja Schulz is to develop new concepts for keeping rats. Rats have special demands on housing systems not only because of their body size. They also have a distinct play and exploration behavior and interact intensively with their social partners and with humans. At the same time, there is an increasing demand in research for animals that are kept for longer periods of time. This is because, as society ages demographically, age-related diseases are also on the rise. And in order to better counteract these, adult and older laboratory animals are needed.
Building on a previous project funded by Charité 3R, the applicants want to test further concepts for cage conversions and rapidly incorporate advances from the test phase into routine operations. In doing so, it is important for the three animal welfare officers to act in a sustainable manner and to provide varied options of individual choice for activity and rest by utilizing the new resources in a new housing concept. Likewise, compatibility with scientific protocols, good manageability and occupational safety in animal care must be ensured.