Edinburgh preclinical facility wins second humane care award

Charles River Laboratories recognised for innovative rabbit pens

The Edinburgh site of Charles River Laboratories has received a second award for humane care. The award recognises the introduction of floor housing of rabbits as part of the company's ongoing commitment to environmental enrichment. The innovative rabbit floor pens provide flexible accommodation for up to nine rabbits in bright and stimulating surroundings.

Environmental enrichment initiatives facilitate a wide range of normal behaviour with the aim of reducing social stress and aggression. These include:

  • Pen dimensions that permit housing in socially compatible groups with ample room for exercise
  • Pens sited directly onto room floor and the internal floor area is covered with dust free soft wood shavings at a depth of approximately 10cm for hygiene and to permit foraging and digging
  • Wall height provides scope for rearing upwards for scanning, exploration and play while maintaining security
  • Clear wall materials allow an unobstructed view of  the surrounding room so that the animals have visibility of the other groups and can see approaching personnel
  • Raised areas to make use of the vertical dimension
  • Gnawing materials for enrichment and to prevent the teeth from overgrowing
  • Imitation burrows for withdrawal in fear inducing situations and to manage social interactions
  • Hay for foraging, play and nest building

Preclinical studies conducted at the Edinburgh facility range from acute through to carcinogenicity and include all major regulatory species and all routes of administration. Developmental and reproductive toxicology studies as well as juvenile studies can also be carried out at the site.

In addition to supporting early-phase candidate screening, the company also performs laboratory services such as metabolism and pharmacokinetics, bioanalytical support and in vitro sciences.

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