Housing in general

Source

Non-harmful / below threshold / severity degree 0 Mild / severity degree 1 Moderate / severity degree 2 Severe / severity degree 3
EU EWG on severity classification of scientific procedures on animals (2009) Non-invasive observation of normal behaviour without disturbing the animal.      
Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office FSVO (2018)

Housing meeting the minimum requirements of animal welfare legislation.

Examples: Preference studies with various qualities of litter (for improvements in housing conditions). Housing of rats in accordance with animal welfare legislation for ethological observations.

Housing falling slightly short of the minimum requirements of animal welfare legislation, no other deviations from the minimum requirements.

Examples: Solitary housing without sensory deprivation max. 7 days. Mice and rats in groups in metabolic cages (e.g. grid floor or below the minimum area) with possibility of withdrawal and occupation max. 7 days. Dogs in suspension belt for up to 4 hours. Holding of dogs in groups without exercise for max. two weeks.

Housing falling distinctly short of the minimum requirements of animal welfare legislation, or falling slightly short over an extended period.

Examples:Isolation housing with sensory deprivation max. 7 days. Mice and rats in groups in metabolic cages with possibility of withdrawal and occupation max. 14 days. Housing of pigs without occupation max. 2 weeks.
 
Working Group of Berlin Animal Welfare Officers (2010)

Testing of husbandry types in accordance with the regulations, and accepted best practice.

All markings when capture is performed by state-of-the-art methods (transmitter up to 5% of the body weight).

 

 

 

Gnotobiology - immunology of commensals

Source

Non-harmful / below threshold / severity degree 0 Mild / severity degree 1 Moderate / severity degree 2 Severe / severity degree 3
Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office FSVO (2018)

Experimental animals (except guinea pigs) under gnotobiotic conditions after colonisation of germ-free animals by socialisation with pathogen-free animals which are either monocolonised or have a limited, defined (gnotobiotic) microbiota.

Colonisation of germ-free animals with non-pathogenic bacteria which, however, may cause a mild temporary pathology in germ-free animals.

Examples: Caecal enlargement without further pathologies such as raised diaphragm Colonisation by gastric tube.

Infection/colonisation with pathogenic bacteria, colonisation with non-pathogenic bacteria which may cause a short-term moderate or long-term mild pathology in germ- free animals.

Examples: Infection/colonisation with pathogenic or opportunistic pathogenic bacteria. Caecal enlargement with induced pathologies such as female sterility in guinea pigs.
Infection/colonisation with pathogenic bacteria, colonisation with non-pathogenic bacteria which may cause a short-term severe or long-term moderate pathology in germ-free animals.

 

Use of metabolic cages

Source

Non-harmful / below threshold / severity degree 0 Mild / severity degree 1 Moderate / severity degree 2 Severe / severity degree 3
Directive 2010/63/EU, Annex VIII

  Short term (<24h) restraint in metabolic cages. Use of metabolic cages involving moderate restriction of movement over a prolonged period (up to 5 days). Use of metabolic cages involving severe restriction of movement over a prolonged period.
Working Group of Berlin Animal Welfare Officers (2010)

Stress depends on different factors (e.g. ambient temperature, spatial restrictions with and without fixation, social contact, ground configuration, duration) and is varying significantly from species to species. The severity of the experienced stress needs to be assessed individually with regards to the governing factors and the respective animal species, and cannot be listed here in tabular form.

For every animal species: The better conditioned the animals are, the less stressful it is for them to be tested or the longer the tests can take.

With animals lacking a sense of time, every fixation is a severely stressful experience for them, when they are not used to it (positive learning). Husbandry methods used in farming cannot be used as relevant guidelines (e.g. sow farrowing crates, tie-stalls).
     

 

Deprivation - water

Source

Non-harmful / below threshold / severity degree 0 Mild / severity degree 1 Moderate / severity degree 2 Severe / severity degree 3
Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office FSVO (2018)

 

Water deprivation during dry feeding with subsequent free access to water or possibility of compensation with wet feed in adult animals.

Examples: Adult mice and rats max. 15 hours. Adult carnivores and farm animals max. 15 hours. Adult rabbits max. 6 hours.

Long-term water deprivation during dry feeding with subsequent free access to water or possibility of compensation in adult animals.

Examples: Adult rats and mice max. 18 hours. Adult rats and mice max. 12–23 hours if the period of water deprivation is gradually limited. Adult rabbits max. 12 hours. Adult carnivores and farm animals max. 18 hours.

Long-term water deprivation.

Examples: Water deprivation in all adult rats and mice up to 23 hours.
Working Group of Berlin Animal Welfare Officers (2010)  

Deprivation up to 12 hours.

Deprivation 12-24 hours.

Deprivation more than 24 hours.

 

Deprivation - food

Source

Non-harmful / below threshold / severity degree 0 Mild / severity degree 1 Moderate / severity degree 2 Severe / severity degree 3
Directive 2010/63/EU, Annex VIII

Withdrawal of food for <24h in adult rats.      
Directive 2010/63/EU, Annex VIII Adding inert markers in the diet to follow passage of digesta.      
Directive 2010/63/EU, Annex VIII Feeding a diet that meets the full nutritional needs of the animals. Feeding of modified diets, that do not meet all of the animals' nutritional needs and are expected to cause mild clinical abnormality within the time-scale of the study. Studies with modified diets that do not meet all of the animals’ nutritional needs and are expected to cause moderate clinical abnormality within the time-scale of the study. Withdrawal of food for 48 hours in adult rats.  
Home Office (2014 a) Dosing with a compound in feed where the animals ate normally and suffered no consequences of being dosed.      
Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office FSVO (2018)

Feeding with physiological diet without falling short of the minimum requirements of animal welfare legislation or weight loss of up to 5% of initial body weight within 2 weeks in adult animals.

Examples: Palatability tests of selected physiological diets or beverages with free access to water. Differing feed compositions to test ponderal development in fattening pigs.

Unphysiological diet without manifest clinical symptoms or food deprivation for weight loss.

Examples: High-fat diet in mice for max. 8 weeks. Food deprivation in adult animals leading to a weight loss of max. 10% of initial body weight within 2 weeks.

Unphysiological diet with manifest clinical symptoms or weight loss of max. 20% of initial body weight within 2 weeks in adult animals.

Examples: Arteriosclerosis without spontaneous deaths. Diabetes and obesity leading to clinically relevant restrictions of organs/organ systems or natural behaviour.

Diets leading to a severe clinical picture.

Examples: Arteriosclerosis with spontaneous deaths. Diabetes and obesity with spontaneous deaths.
Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office FSVO (2018)

Food deprivation, e.g. overnight, with subsequent compensatory possibilities or euthanasia.

Example: Adult mice and rats max. 15 hours.

Food deprivation with subsequent compensatory possibilities or euthanasia.

Examples: Adult mice and rats max. 24 hours. Adult carnivores max. 24 hours. Adult rabbits max. 12 hours. Roughage in adult ruminants max. 24 hours.

Long-term food deprivation with subsequent compensatory possibilities or euthanasia.

Examples: Adult mice and rats max. 48 hours. Adult cats max. 24 hours. Adult dogs max. 48 hours. Adult pigs max. 36 hours. Roughage in adult ruminants max. 48 hours.

Long-term food deprivation.

Examples: Food deprivation in adult rats >48 hours.

Working Group of Berlin Animal Welfare Officers (2010)

Deprivation: less than 2 nutrition cycles.

Deprivation: 2 nutrition cycles.

Deprivation: 3-4 nutrition cycles.

Deprivation: more than 4 nutrition cycles.

 

Exposure to overstimulation

Source

Non-harmful / below threshold / severity degree 0 Mild / severity degree 1 Moderate / severity degree 2 Severe / severity degree 3
Home Office (2014 a)

  Low grade, non-painful or non-invasive stressors, such as those used in chronic mild stress protocols (repeated handling, cage changing and flooding, cage movement, introduction of unfamiliar cage mates but without fighting, etc.). It excludes aversive techniques, such as the use of electric shocks as a negative stimulus on treadmills and for fear conditioning, and stress caused by forced swimming. For the actual severity to have been mild, recovery should be immediate/rapid and there should be no lasting impact that is evident simply by examining the animal (although there may of course be, for example, biochemical or behavioural changes requiring particular tests in order to characterise effects), or as evidenced by sensitisation to later procedures.    
Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office FSVO (2018)  

Chronic mild stress.

Examples: Models with frequent alteration of environmental conditions in the rat or mouse. Repeated holding of laboratory rodents in a small box for one hour. Circadian rhythm models.
 

Stress models without habituation (adaptation) of the animal to the stimulus.

Examples: Models with frequent changes in the social surroundings in the rat or mouse. Experimental models in which laboratory rodents are exposed to noise, foot shocks, cold water and immobilisation over 3 weeks, without any rhythm recognisable to the animal. Depression models.
Working Group of Berlin Animal Welfare Officers (2010)  

Stress leading to alarm reaction. Short-term stress up to 24 hours.

Stress leading to resistance phase, chronic stress. Models without adapting to the stressor.

Stress leading to exhaustion phase. Models with chronic, often changing, potent stressors.

 

This page was updated on 01 January 2021

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