Cage sizes for tamarins in the laboratory



Prescott MJ & Buchanan-Smith HM (2004) Cage sizes for tamarins in the laboratory. Animal Welfare, 13 (2), pp. 151-158.

Provision of active space for captive animals is essential for good welfare.  It effects not only their behaviour but also determines whether there is sufficient room for appropriate environmental enrichment. More importantly, appropriate cage size oermits captive animals to be housed in socially harmonious groups anf fulfil their reproductive potential. For animals used in the laboratory, the environment can be an additional source of suffering and distress. If they can be better housed and cared for to reduce the overall impact of experments upon them, Then we are obliged to do so for ethical, legal and scientific reasons. Practically all current guidelines specify minimum cage sizes for laboratory primates based on unit body weight. We believe that no single factor is sufficient to determine minimum cage sizes for primates, and that instead a suite of characteristics should be used, including morphometric, ecological, social and behavioural characteristics. Here we explore the relevant differences between tamarins (Saguinus labiatus and S. Oedipus) and marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) that have a bearing on settling minimun cage sizes. These include: body size; arboreality and cage use; home range size, mean daily path length and stereopathic behaviour; breeding success in the laboratory; and species predisposition and aggression. We conclude that it is even more important t provide tamarins with a good quantity of space in the laboratory than it is marmosets if well-being and breeding success and maximised.

animal welfare; breeding success; colony management; common marmoset; cotton-top tamarin; red-bellied tamarin

Animal Welfare: Volume 13, Issue 2

Publication date31/05/2004
PublisherUniversities Federation for Animal Welfare
Publisher URL…0000002/art00007

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Professor Hannah Buchanan-Smith
Professor Hannah Buchanan-Smith

Professor, Psychology