The perspectives of UK personnel towards current killing practices for laboratory rodents

Jasmine Clarkson, Matthew Leach, Dorothy McKeegan, Jessica Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Rodents are the predominant species used for scientific research and must be humanely killed upon completion of the work. In the UK this is regulated by Schedule 1 of the Animals Scientific Procedures Act 1986, which lists permitted methodologies considered capable of humane killing, including overdose of an anaesthetic, exposure to carbon dioxide (CO2) gas, dislocation of the neck and concussion of the brain by striking the cranium. Although all are permitted, operator motivations behind method selection and individual operator preference remain unknown. The views of 219 laboratory animal personnel on institutional availability and use of Schedule 1 killing methods for laboratory rodents were obtained. Only 10% of participants reported that all four methods were available at their institution with 57.5% of respondents preferring cervical dislocation. For CO2, only 18.6% of participants reported using the recommended flow rate, while 45.5% did not know the flow rate employed. We highlight the urgent requirement for the development of quality-controlled training programmes, to improve knowledge and confidence in the selection and application of killing methods. We advocate for continuous review of killing practices to ensure best practice is reflected in legislation and achieve optimal protection of the welfare of laboratory rodents during killing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4808
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date23 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Euthanasia


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