Skip to content

To group or not to group? Good practice for housing male laboratory mice

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Original languageEnglish
Article number88
Number of pages25
JournalAnimals
Volume7
Issue number12
Early online date24 Nov 2017
DOIs
DateAccepted/In press - 20 Nov 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 24 Nov 2017
DatePublished (current) - Dec 2017

Abstract

It is widely recommended to group-house male laboratory mice because they are ‘social animals’, but male mice do not naturally share territories and aggression can be a serious welfare problem. Even without aggression, not all animals within a group will be in a state of positive welfare. Rather, many male mice may be negatively affected by the stress of repeated social defeat and subordination, raising concerns about welfare and also research validity. However, individual housing may not be an appropriate solution, given the welfare implications associated with no social contact. An essential question is whether it is in the best welfare interests of male mice to be group- or singly housed. This review explores the likely impacts—positive and negative—of both housing conditions, presents results of a survey of current practice and awareness of mouse behavior, and includes recommendations for good practice and future research. We conclude that whether group- or single-housing is better (or less worse) in any situation is highly context-dependent according to several factors including strain, age, social position, life experiences, and housing and husbandry protocols. It is important to recognise this and evaluate what is preferable from animal welfare and ethical perspectives in each case.

Additional information

Special Issue: Animal Management in the 21st Century

    Research areas

  • Animal husbandry, Animal management, Animal welfare, Group housing, Male mice, Mouse aggression, Mouse husbandry, Mouse welfare, Refinement, Single housing, Social organisation

Download statistics

No data available

Documents

Documents

  • Full-text PDF (final published version)

    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via MDPI at http://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/7/12/88 . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Final published version, 292 KB, PDF-document

    Licence: CC BY

  • Supplementary information PDF

    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via MDPI at http://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/7/12/88 . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Final published version, 203 KB, PDF-document

    Licence: CC BY

DOI

View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups