Amelioration of Laboratory Conditions for Pigeons (Columba Livia)
Learning tests in animal psychology are highly standardized with regard to both the formulation of scientific questions and the methods employed to obtain reliable answers. The Skinnerian technique of conditioning rats or pigeons in small test chambers has established itself as the main laboratory method in this field. Despite the undeniable advantages of highly controlled and manipulated test conditions, a number of problems with respect to the welfare of the test animals arise from the standard application of this method. These problems are specified here along with the presentation of new techniques that have been developed at the University of Vienna. The methodological improvements are related to the housing, testing and weighing of the pigeons and ameliorate the conditions these animals previously confronted within the laboratory.
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