Abstract # 173:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 23, 2007 08:45 AM-09:00 AM: Session 16 (North Main Hall E) Symposium

The Effects of Behavioral Management Programs on Dependent Measures in Biomedical Research

S. J. Schapiro, S. P. Lambeth, E. Thiele and O. Rousset
UTMDACC, Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, Dept. of Veterinary Sciences, 650 Cool Water Dr., Bastrop, TX 78602, USA
     While much of the historical motivation for upgrading behavioral management programs for captive nonhuman primates was to improve their welfare, for primates involved in research, other concomitant potential benefits are being discovered. We have implemented a variety of theoretically- and/or empirically-based behavioral management strategies in our SPF rhesus (Macaca mulatta) and chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) colonies. These strategies have resulted in both empirically-determined improved welfare for the animals and altered, and perhaps improved, physiological readouts for investigative use. Applications of behavioral management strategies, including environmental enrichment, socialization strategies, and positive reinforcement training, derived from behavioral science (infant development and operant conditioning) have affected the suitability, quality, and utility of the procedures and the subjects involved in primate research. Specifically, the techniques utilized and the data collected from animals trained by positive reinforcement to voluntarily cooperate with research procedures, may be superior to other techniques and data. The continued application and maturation of behavioral management programs is likely to result in additional refinements to the primate research endeavor. These may include the establishment of new physiological reference values obtained from behaviorally managed (e.g., trained to voluntarily present for sampling) samples and animals (e.g., chimpanzees). This may, in turn, result in reduced variability across subjects enabling equally powerful studies to be conducted with fewer subjects.