Abstract # 216:

Scheduled for Friday, June 21, 2013 12:30 PM-12:45 PM: Session 26 (San Geronimo Ballroom B) Oral Presentation


FULL-CONTACT SOCIAL HOUSING OF NON-HUMAN PRIMATES (MACACA MULATTA AND MACACA FASCICULARIS) IN A BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH FACILITY: INITIATION AND IMPLEMENTATION.

A. M. West1,2,3, M. Carey1,2,3, W. Wagner1,2,3 and J. Erwin4
1BIOQUAL, Inc. Department of Primate Psychology, Rockville, Maryland, 20852, Department of Primate Psychology, Rockville, Maryland 20852, USA, 2BIOQUAL, Inc., Department of Primate Biology and Medicine, Parklawn Drive, 3BIOQUAL, Inc., Department of Primate Biology and Medicine, Research Boulevard, 4Department of Anthropology, George Washington University, Washington, DC
line
     

Animal welfare regulations have required social housing of primates for more than two decades, although many veterinary and scientific exemptions have been approved with oversight by Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs). In recent years pressure has increased to reduce the number of exemptions under research protocols. Here we report on the success of a program to increase full-contact social housing of rhesus macaques and other primates at an NIH contract research facility in which IACUC-approved exemptions had previously been common. A custom-designed housing system, along with a method of temperament assessment, compatibility screening prior to full-contact, and pairing and grouping, are described. A modular mobile housing system had been designed, refined, and implemented throughout the facility about 20 years ago when social housing was recognized as the “default” condition for the facility. Individually caged macaques (N= 671) were assessed for temperament, were matched with others, and were tested for compatibility, first with protected contact, and then with full contact.  248 pairs and 45 triads were formed (all were same sex). Of these, 607 (95%) were still paired after six months. Only 6 minor injuries, and no fatalities occurred. The method described was clearly effective in increasing the number of primates paired in the facility and enabling research protocols to proceed in compliance with humane considerations.