Overview: Work within UBC’s Animal Welfare Program aims to improve the lives of animals used in research, testing and teaching. One important focus has been on humane methods of euthanasia. We have shown that the most common method of euthanasia for laboratory rats and mice – exposure to carbon dioxide – is aversive to these rodents, and have identified more humane alternatives as well as ways to reduce the duration of distress if carbon dioxide must be used. More recently, we have investigated methods of euthanasia in zebrafish, showing that the most common method is aversive to them and identifying more humane alternatives. A similar study with coho salmon is currently in process. We also investigate issues related to how rats and zebrafish are housed in laboratories, specifically considering how adding complexities to their environments can affect their cognition and emotional states.
In addition to experimental animal welfare science with laboratory animals, members of our research team also use social science methodologies to explore stakeholder attitudes towards the use and governance of animals in science.
Where we do it: Our experimental work with laboratory animals is conducted within existing laboratory research facilities on campus.
Thanks to our supporters! Our research on animals in science is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and NSERC.
Photo credits: Mouse: Mycroyance on Flickr creative commons. Available: http://bit.ly/15umG2O Fish: Marrabbio2 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons