The perspectives of UK personnel towards current killing practices for laboratory rodents

Clarkson, J. M. , Leach, M. C., McKeegan, D. E.F. and Martin, J. E. (2023) The perspectives of UK personnel towards current killing practices for laboratory rodents. Scientific Reports, 13, 4808. (doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-31808-0) (PMID:36959244) (PMCID:PMC10036518)

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Rodents are the predominant species used for scientific research and must be humanely killed upon completion of the work. In the UK this is regulated by Schedule 1 of the Animals Scientific Procedures Act 1986, which lists permitted methodologies considered capable of humane killing, including overdose of an anaesthetic, exposure to carbon dioxide (CO2) gas, dislocation of the neck and concussion of the brain by striking the cranium. Although all are permitted, operator motivations behind method selection and individual operator preference remain unknown. The views of 219 laboratory animal personnel on institutional availability and use of Schedule 1 killing methods for laboratory rodents were obtained. Only 10% of participants reported that all four methods were available at their institution with 57.5% of respondents preferring cervical dislocation. For CO2, only 18.6% of participants reported using the recommended flow rate, while 45.5% did not know the flow rate employed. We highlight the urgent requirement for the development of quality-controlled training programmes, to improve knowledge and confidence in the selection and application of killing methods. We advocate for continuous review of killing practices to ensure best practice is reflected in legislation and achieve optimal protection of the welfare of laboratory rodents during killing.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The authors would like to thank the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) for funding the research project (BB/S007210/1). The Roslin Institute was funded by a BBSRC Institute Strategic Program Grant BB/P013759/1.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McKeegan, Dr Dorothy and Clarkson, Dr Jasmine and Leach, Dr Matthew and Martin, Miss Jessica
Authors: Clarkson, J. M., Leach, M. C., McKeegan, D. E.F., and Martin, J. E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Scientific Reports
Publisher:Nature Research
ISSN (Online):2045-2322
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Authors
First Published:First published in Scientific Reports 13: 4808
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
Data DOI:10.5525/gla.researchdata.1305

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
303692Decompression killing of laboratory rodents: a humane alternative to carbon dioxide?Dorothy McKeeganBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/S007210/1Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine