Integrated Health Safety And Welfare

It is imperative that efforts to reduce staff exposure to animal allergens with the goal of reducing incidence of LAA do not give rise to new health problems, either among staff or animals. If allergen levels are reduced, but with increased ergonomic strain and compromised animal welfare (potentially affecting research), nothing has been gained. Few studies have as yet focused on these balances. Recently, cage systems for containing mice were compared, evaluating allergen levels, ergonomics features, biting frequency, weight gain, and cage climate. It was shown that although allergen levels in undisturbed mouse rooms were low using IVCs, they were less ergonomically suitable, compared to regular open shelving or ventilated cabinets.70 Also, some evidence was found that cage climate and animal welfare may vary between IVC systems.77 We conclude that all planned installations should be evaluated beforehand regarding both animal and worker health, and alternatives weighed. Investments are usually costly, and worker relocation or compensation costs or loss of research animals through contamination or stress cannot be ignored.

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