The division of labour, costs and responsibility between the facility and scientists regarding the recording of observations on the animals must be discussed at a very early stage. Novel routines for these observations, including the production of scoring sheets, may have to be developed. Noting the time of day and order of sampling, not just the date, is important. Previous experience from similar studies should be sought and built upon. Procedures must be described in sufficient detail to enable them to be assessed. Descriptions of the monitoring methods and welfare assessment schemes to be used will be important aspects of this planning phase, since these records will facilitate the reporting of actual severity where this is a legal requirement. All of the techniques involved in the procedure need to be identified, and efforts made to ensure that the most refined methods are used.
Some examples of specific action points include the following:
Capture, immobilisation, marking, release re-use or re-homing
- The likely effects on the animals
- The potential danger to personnel and observers
- The use of different personnel than those performing procedures on the animals or assessing their status, to avoid bias
- The possibility of using alternative, non-invasive techniques, such as biometric methods of identification
- Welfare and scientific considerations of tattooing and ear tagging for mouse identification