Enrichment Programs

Enrichment is the process of enhancing the animals’ environment to allow for species typical behavior.

The Behavior Management and Enrichment Program covers all animals housed within CCMS facilities:

  • Nonhuman primates
  • Pigs
  • Sheep
  • Rabbits
  • Ferrets
  • Rodents
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Hamsters

CCMS provides:

  • Social housing
  • Toys/Maniulanda
  • Food treats based on species
  • Human interaction

Is Enrichment and Social Housing Necessary?

  • According to the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, “The primary aim of environmental enrichment is to enhance animal well-being by providing animals with sensory and motor stimulation through structures and resources that facilitate the expression of species-specific behaviors and promote psychological well-being through physical exercise, manipulative activities, and cognitive challenges according to species-specific characteristics.”
  • Social housing is considered by AAALAC as the default method of housing unless otherwise justified based on social incompatibility, veterinary concerns, or scientific necessary approved by the IACUC.
  • The Guide also states that single housing of social species should be the exception and justified based on experimental requirements of veterinary-related concerns about animal well-being.

Definition of Behavior Management

  • Monitor behavior for all regulated species
  • Provide positive reinforcement training in nonhuman primates
  • Develop treatment plans for animals with stereopathy
  • Perform consultations with researchers

Goals of Behavior Management and Enrichment Program (BMEP):

  • Minimize stress induced behaviors
  • Improve quality of research through enriched environments
  • Allow animals to exhibit natural species-specific behavior in the laboratory setting

CCMS Social Housing Policy

  • Social Housing is the best possible enrichment we can provide, so we work to ensure that all animals within CCMS facilities are socially housed
  • IACUC Social Housing Policy: All species are socially housed unless single housing is justified based on social incompatibility, veterinary concern or scientific justification
  • Animals can be singled housed for up to 72 hours without justification required

Small Animal BMEP

  • Nesting material—mice
  • Igloos for breeding/aggression cases—mice
  • Huts—guinea pigs
  • Gnawing today (rats, hamster, guinea, pigs)

Large Animal BMEP

  • Sheep
  • Ferrets
  • Rabbits
  • Pigs
  • Nonhuman primates (NHP)

Large Animal Enrichment

  • Pigs, rabbits, ferrets—food enrichment 3x/week
  • Nonhuman primates—food enrichment daily
  • Sheep—hay daily

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Crystal Johnson
Director of Behavioral Management and Psychological Enrichment Program

Kristina Carter Bartley B.Sc. M.Sc.
Behavior Management and Enrichment Program Manager QA Education Specialist

Brianna N. Parkinson, LVT
Environmental Enrichment Coordinator