Publication Alert

Brunt MW, Améndola L, Weary DM (2021) Attitudes of laboratory animal professionals and researchers towards carbon dioxide euthanasia for rodents and perceived barriers to change. Laboratory Animals. July 2021. doi:10.1177/00236772211025166

Abstract – Evidence indicates that carbon dioxide (CO2) induces negative affective states (including anxiety, fear and distress) in laboratory rodents, but many countries still accept it for euthanasia. Alternative methods (e.g. inhalant anaesthetic) may represent a refinement over CO2 but are not widely adopted. We conducted an online survey of Canadian and European laboratory animal professionals and researchers (n¼592) to assess their attitudes towards the use of CO2 and alternative methods for rodent euthanasia using quantitative 7-point scale (from 1 (¼ strongly oppose) to 7 (¼ strongly favour) and qualitative (open-ended text) responses. CO2 was identified as the most common method used to kill rodents, and attitudes towards this method were variable and on average ambivalent (meanSD score on our 7-point scale was 4.41.46). Qualitative analysis revealed four themes relating to participant attitude: (a) the animal’s experience during gas exposure; (b) practical considerations for humans; (c) compromise between the animal’s experience and practical considerations; and (d) technical description of the procedure or policies. Many participants (51%) felt that there were alternatives available that could be considered an improvement over CO2, but perceived barriers to implementing these refinements. Qualitative analysis of these responses revealed five themes: (a) financial constraints; (b) institutional culture; (c) regulatory constraints; (d) research constraints; and (e) safety concerns. In conclusion, concerns regarding the use of CO2 often focused on the animal’s experience, but barriers to alternatives related to operational limitations. New research is now required on to how best to overcome these barriers.

Publication Alert

Brunt MW, Weary DM (2021) Perceptions of laboratory animal facility managers regarding institutional transparency. PLoS ONE 16(7):e0254279. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0254279

Abstract – Institutions that conduct animal research are often obliged to release some information under various legal or regulatory frameworks. However, within an institution, perspectives on sharing information with the broader public are not well documented. Inside animal facilities, managers exist at the interface between the people who conduct animal research and those charged with providing care for those animals. Their perception of transparency may influence their interpretation of the institutional culture of transparency and may also influence others who use these facilities. The objective of our study was to describe perceptions of transparency among animal research facility managers (all working within the same ethical oversight program), and how these perceptions influenced their experiences. Semistructured, open-ended interviews were used to describe perceptions and experiences of 12 facility managers relating to animal research transparency. Four themes emerged from the participant interviews: 1) communication strategies, 2) impact on participant, 3) expectations of transparency, and 4) institutional policies. Similarities and differences regarding perceptions of transparency existed among participants, with notable differences between participants working at university versus hospital campuses. These results illustrate differences in perceptions of transparency within one institutional animal care and use program. We conclude that institutions, regulators and the public should not assume a uniform interpretation of a culture of transparency among managers, and that sustained communication efforts are required to support managers and to allow them to develop shared perspectives.

I Miss Your Blogs

Melina Gillies is a friend that greatly encouraged me to embark upon a literary exploration of self understanding which culminated in my blogs.  It was my primary therapeutic outlet exposing my honest self.  At times funny, exciting and even down right dark while writing my truth.  Each piece was exactly what I needed to express in those moments.  She wrote to me this week and said only, “I miss your blogs.”  It has been nearly 10 weeks since I published my last real reflection.  After nine months of intimate weekly glimpses into my thoughts, some of my readers felt it was a harsh break-up.

Continue reading “I Miss Your Blogs”

Empty Home

Today is an odd day. I’m drinking my morning coffee and sitting in my favourite chair. Before me, I stare at a pile of furniture stacked in my living room. Soon it will disappear forever. Relieving oneself of most of your possessions is a interesting feeling. It is liberating but at the same time I feel vulnerable and exposed. Do these possessions insulate us and reinforce the stability of our daily routines? I think they do. They do comfort us. However, ready or not, my insulation is being shed. Continue reading “Empty Home”