CCAC policy statement on: social and behavioral requirements of experimental animals

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Well-being in animals has two components: physical and behavioral. Physical well-being is manifested by a state of clinical health. Behavioral well-being is manifested by behavior considered to be normal for that species and strain, together with the absence of significantly abnormal behavior. Behavioral well-being is considered to reflect psychological well-being, and to that extent, the terms are considered to be synonymous in our usage.

In the interest of well-being, a social environment is desired for each animal which will allow basic social contacts and positive social relationships. Social behavior assists animals to cope with circumstances of confinement. Caging, whether for single animals, pairs, or groups, should be enriched appropriately for the species.

It is necessary to recognize affiliations which commonly occur within and between species. Chronic isolation as a method of accommodation, should not normally occur. However, in exceptional circumstances, and with clear scientific and biological justification, some animals may be better kept alone. Positive interactions with human beings are important in some species, and particularly in conditions of social isolation. Some individuals seem more readily accepted by animals than others; this concept should be used to maximize the benefits of these affiliations.

February 19, 1990