Exercise and Enrichment

An enrichment program is provided as part of the stimuli to alleviate the occurrence of abnormal behavior.

Examples include: perches, swings, mirrors, varied food, toys, nesting materials, human interaction, social interaction among members of the same species, or other objects that increase opportunity for expression of species-typical posture and activities and enhance animal well-being.

All animals housed in Central 5 are participants of the established enrichment program.

Enrichment is necessary to follow animals to express normal behaviors and prevent behavioral problems and stress associated with long-term confinement housing.


Whenever possible, dogs will be exercised in compatible groups to provide social interaction.

Such groups will include one sex at a time.

For dogs housed individually, when and where possible, dogs will be housed in pens having the space required. http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/labrats

If participation in the exercise program is clearly not in the animals best interest because of animal health considerations (e.g.; unanticipated post-operative complications), temporary emergency exemptions may be requested in writing from the attending veterinarian or his designee.

Such exemptions, if granted, must also be approved by the IACUC no later than the regular monthly meeting.

The attending veterinarian or his designee may also suggest limitation on exercise even in the absence of request from the investigator if it is in his profession opinion such exercise would be detrimental to the well being of the animal.

Questions regarding this plan can be addressed to the attending veterinarian or CARE director.

An animal care taker will be present during group exercise to ensure animals are compatible and to record behavior.

Rodents and Rabbits

Enrichment for rodents is provided through use of contact bedding and nesting material (provides for normal burrowing and exploratory behaviors) and social housing.

Food treats may be provided to rodents as long as it does not significantly reduce the consumption of the normal diet.

Enrichment for rabbits consists of providing them with various “toys” and food treats such as fresh produce and shredded wheat.