February 2019 edition
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Research Animal Department
Dear colleague,
Welcome to the February edition of our e-newsletter, bringing you the latest updates and events from our Research Animals Department.
RSPCA rat cage height study
RSPCA rat cage height study
An adult rat can reach up to 30 cm when standing upright – and cages are available that allow this – but many laboratory rats are housed in cages that are 20 cm high, as permitted by the current Code of Practice in the UK. It is increasingly recognised that housing rats so that they cannot stand up is a welfare (and likely a scientific) issue, but some facilities are unable to provide higher cages at present, for a variety of reasons.

The RSPCA is conducting a survey of those housing and caring for rats in the UK, with the aim of understanding the key factors that would need to be addressed to achieve an increase in rat cage heights. Our researcher will visit establishments that have, and have not, implemented higher caging, to discuss the impact that moving to higher cages would have (or has had) on financial resources, human health and safety, animal welfare and data quality. The output will be a report of the survey with recommendations, which will not identify any individuals or facilities. We will be conducting interviews from April to June 2019. If you think your establishment could participate and would like further information, please contact us at: research.animals@rspca.org.uk.
'Challenging Refinements' meeting
‘Challenging Refinements’ meeting - Registration NOW OPEN
On Thursday 4 April 2019, in conjunction with GSK (Stevenage, UK), we will be holding a one day meeting which will focus on ways of refining models and procedures where this can be particularly challenging (e.g. humane endpoints in regulatory tests and analgesia provision in pain models). A series of case studies will be presented by speakers from industry and academia, highlighting how pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm has been successfully reduced or avoided. Topics will include neuropathic pain, collagen-induced arthritis, experimental diabetes, evident toxicity in regulatory tests, and environmental toxicity testing in fish.

Registration is FREE but places are limited and those with direct involvement in the care and use of animals will be prioritised. A detailed programme is available on request, and will be sent to all registered and confirmed participants. To register for this meeting, please complete this online form, or email research.animals@rspca.org.uk for more information.
Focus on Severe Suffering website relaunch
We are pleased to announce the launch of our revamped ‘Focus on Severe Suffering’ web resource. Following consultation with stakeholders, we have refreshed and refined the content and redesigned the site to make it more user-friendly. Please take a look here: www.rspca.org.uk/severesuffering. We will keep the site updated on a regular basis with information about our meetings and resources. If you have any suggestions or comments please let us know at: research.animals@rspca.org.uk
Images showing new website features
RSPCA Lay Members' Forum 2019
RSPCA Lay Members’ Forum
In December 2018, we held our annual Lay Members Forum in London. The event included talks on assessing the mental states of animals, a scientist’s and a lay member’s perspective of the Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB), and the Animals in Science Committee (ASC) report reviewing the harm-benefit analysis (HBA). For those who were unable to attend the meeting, a summary is available, and members of AWERBs can download the presentations via the ASC’s Knowledge Hub.

Later this year, the 2019 meeting will represent the 20th anniversary since the holding of the very first RSPCA Lay Members’ Forum. If you have any suggestions for topics you would like to see addressed, please let us know via this short online form.
Kind regards,
Penny, Barney, Elliot, Juliet, Chloe and Maria.
RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS.
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