Animal housing

From the NH&MRC Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 8th Edition, 2013.

  • 2.2.26 AECs must ensure that adequate records are kept on the acquisition, breeding, health, care, housing, use and disposal of animals.
  • 2.2.27 Inspections of all animal housing and laboratory areas must be conducted regularly by members of the AEC and appropriate records maintained to ensure compliance with the Code.

Outdoor holding areas

  • 4.4.4 These must be compatible with the needs of the species, provide adequate shelter and water, protect the animals from predation and meet other species specific needs.

Indoor housing

  • 4.4.5 Buildings should be compatible with the needs of the animals to be housed, and the studies undertaken. Facilities for free movement and group contact are specially important for some species of animals.
  • 4.4.6 Buildings should be designed and operated to control environmental factors appropriately, to exclude vermin and to limit contamination associated with the keeping of animals, the delivery of food, water and bedding, and the entry of people and other animals.
  • 4.4.7 Buildings must be maintained in good repair. Walls and floors should be constructed of durable materials that can be cleaned and disinfected readily.
  • 4.4.8 Buildings must be kept clean and tidy, and operated to achieve the effective control of vermin.
  • 4.4.9 There must be adequate storage areas for food and equipment.
  • 4.4.10 Detergents, disinfectant, deodorants and pesticides may contaminate the animals’ environment and choice of agents should be made in consultation with investigators.
  • 4.4.11 There should be a reticulated water supply and proper facilities for drainage, if appropriate.
  • 4.4.12 There must be adequate contingency plans to cover such emergencies as the breakdown of lighting, heating or cooling.
  • 4.4.13 Precautions should be taken against the entry of unauthorised persons.

Environmental factors

  • 4.4.14 Animals must be provided with environmental conditions which suit their behavioural and biological needs unless otherwise approved by the AEC for the purposes of a project.
  • 4.4.15 Air exchange, temperature, humidity, light and noise should be maintained within limits compatible with the health and well-being of the animals.
  • 4.4.16 Effective ventilation is essential for the comfort of animals and the control of temperature, humidity, and odours. Ventilation systems should distribute air uniformly and achieve adequate air exchange.
  • 4.4.17 Noxious odours, particularly ammonia, must be kept to a level compatible with the health and comfort of the animals and staff. The adequacy of the ventilation system, the design, construction and placement of cages and containers, population densities both within cages and within a room, the effectiveness of the cleaning and the frequency of bedding changes, will all influence the level of noxious gases. Attention should be given to the balance between the need for cleanliness and the potential impact of cleaning procedures on the animals.
  • 4.4.18 These environmental factors potentially affect the welfare of the animals and may affect the results of scientific and teaching activities. Investigators should be informed in advance of planned changes to the environmental conditions of their animals.