In a laboratory setting, it is important to provide housing that allows expression in a wide range of species-typical behaviors while also meeting the goals of the researcher. Substandard housing can lead to aggression, stereotypes, and anxiety. Understanding the animal’s natural behavior enables us to build quality environments that meet physical, behavioral, and social needs. Proper design is critical for improved health and welfare, both of which impact scientific validity.
Making changes to current housing standards can be challenging especially since facilities may be at very different levels of current housing. Work from where you are currently to make improvements. Also keep in mind that some of the recommendations below (e.g., providing increased exercise space to rabbits) can change some specific experimental models.
Before implementing housing changes, be sure to consult the relevant scientific literature and consider the requirements of your scientific model. Each facility may require an individual approach to increasing housing standards as much as possible.