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Open Access Managing Environmental Enhancement Plans for Individual Research Projects at a National Primate Research Center

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We describe a method for managing environmental enhancement plans for individual research projects at a national primate research center where most monkeys are assigned to active research projects. The Psychological Well-being Program (PWB) at the University of Washington National Primate Research Center developed an Environmental Enhancement Plan form (EEPL) that allows PWB to quantify and track changes in enrichment allowances over time while ensuring that each animal is provided with as much enrichment as possible without compromising research. Very few projects involve restrictions on toys or perches. Some projects have restrictions on food treats and foraging, primarily involving the provision of these enrichments by research staff instead of husbandry staff. Restrictions are not considered exemptions unless they entirely prohibit an element of the University of Washington Environmental Enhancement Plan (UW EE Plan). All exemptions must be formally reviewed and approved by the institutional animal care and use committee. Most exemptions from elements of the UW EE Plan involve social housing. Between 2004 and 2006, the percentage of projects with no social contact restrictions increased by 1%, but those prohibiting any tactile social contact declined by 7%, and projects permitting tactile social contact during part of the study increased by 9%. The EEPL form has facilitated informing investigators about the enrichment their monkeys will receive if no restrictions or exemptions are requested and approved. The EEPL form also greatly enhances PWB's ability to coordinate the specific enrichment requirements of a project.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2008

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  • The Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (JAALAS) serves as an official communication vehicle for the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). The journal includes a section of refereed articles and a section of AALAS association news. The mission of the refereed section of the journal is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information on animal biology, technology, facility operations, management, and compliance as relevant to the AALAS membership. JAALAS accepts research reports (data-based) or scholarly reports (literature-based), with the caveat that all articles, including solicited manuscripts, must include appropriate references and must undergo peer review.

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