Assessing Affective State in Laboratory Rodents to Promote Animal Welfare—What Is the Progress in Applied Refinement Research?
Department Animal Welfare and 3R, University of Zurich, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), German Center for the Protection of Laboratory Animals (Bf3R), 12277 Berlin, Germany
Institute of Animal Welfare, Animal Behavior and Laboratory Animal Science, Freie University Berlin, 14163 Berlin, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 October 2019 / Revised: 18 November 2019 / Accepted: 21 November 2019 / Published: 25 November 2019
In the past, there was a strong focus on avoiding or reducing negative animal welfare in animal experimentation. Recently, the importance of promoting positive animal welfare in laboratory animals has been highlighted. To ensure and promote positive animal welfare, reliable methods to evaluate the animal’s emotional state are important. Important achievements have been made to assess pain and other negative states in animals in the last decades, and only recently have positive emotions been gaining more interest. Therefore, more methods allowing the assessment of emotional states in animals have been introduced. In this overview article, we present common and emerging methods to assess emotions in laboratory rodents. We focus on the use of these methods in applied refinement research to identify achieved progress as well as the potential of these tools to improve animal welfare in animal-based research and animal experimentation.