What factors should determine cage sizes for primates in the laboratory?



Buchanan-Smith HM, Prescott MJ & Cross NJ (2004) What factors should determine cage sizes for primates in the laboratory?. Animal Welfare, 13 (Supplement 1), pp. S197-S201.

It is imperative to provide adequate quantity and quality of space for all captive animals. Yet practically all guidelines on the housing of primates in the laboratory specify minimum cage sizes based solely on body weight. We argue that no single factor, such as body weight, is sufficient to determine cage size. Instead a suite of characteristics should be used that include morphometric, physiological, ecological, locomotor, social, reproductive and behavioural characteristics. Ideally, the primate's age, sex and individual history should also be taken into account. In this paper we compare this suite of characteristics for some commonly used primates whose weights overlap, to illustrate important differences amongst them. For good animal welfare and good quality science it is necessary to be sensitive to such species differences when determining suitable cage sizes.

animal welfare; arboreality; breeding success; colony management; primate; species-specific needs

Animal Welfare: Volume 13, Issue Supplement 1

Publication date29/02/2004
PublisherUniversities Federation for Animal Welfare
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Professor Hannah Buchanan-Smith
Professor Hannah Buchanan-Smith

Professor, Psychology