Abstract # 2041 Event # 106:

Scheduled for Friday, August 18, 2006 11:20 AM-12:00 AM: Session 9 (Regency East #1) Oral Presentation

Enhancing Safety While Refining Primate Care and Use Practices: Desensitization and Training

S. J. Schapiro
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, Dept. of Veterinary Sciences, 650 Cool Water Dr., Bastrop, TX 78602, USA
     Ensuring the safety of human caregivers and their nonhuman primate charges is a critical component of any captive management program. Refinements to management strategies that improve welfare, while simultaneously enhancing human and animal safety, are in continual development, and are applied in zoos, academic settings, and research facilities. Such refinements can impact husbandry, veterinary, and research activities. Refinements may include the use of customized equipment, special procedures, and/or training using positive reinforcement techniques. Few data exist that empirically measure the effects of captive management refinements on human or animal safety. Critical questions that arise when assessing whether management techniques impact safety include: Are new techniques preventing injuries or diminishing potential exposure to zoonotic pathogens? Are new techniques enhancing animal welfare? Is any increase in the risk of injury or exposure as a function of new management techniques acceptable? Even though there are few data available, certain procedures can be implemented that are likely to enhance safety. Specifically, acclimation and desensitization during conditioning will be discussed as processes that make human activities more predictable to primates. Poles, collars, boxes, and chairs are additional management and research tools, and techniques for their proper application to enhance safety will be presented. Additionally, the proper timing of efforts to desensitize primate subjects to initially frightening objects/situations to optimize the value of these management/research tools will be emphasized.