Identification of appropriate measures for the assessment of laboratory mouse welfare
A Delphi consultation process was used to examine the validity and feasibility of potential resource-input and animal-based outcome measures of laboratory mouse welfare identified by a comprehensive literature search. The consultation was an iterative two-stage technique that used web
and email based questionnaires to gather data. On completion of the second consultation stage a total of 97 measures of mouse welfare, their order of importance, and appropriate sample sizes and sampling times where relevant, were identified. Of these, 55 were resource-input measures that
included assessments of the cages, animal rooms environmental conditions, husbandry procedures, provision of food and water, staffing, resources placed into mouse cages, and the establishment policies. The remaining 42 were animal-based outcomes, measures that included assessments of unprovoked
behaviour, provoked responses, vocalisations, physical appearance, and health indicators. The measures that were considered by the experts to be appropriate for assessing laboratory mouse welfare measures can be placed into four basic categories: characteristics of the staff, performance of
husbandry and care procedures, health and well-being of the mice, and the provision and use of cage resources.