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Animal welfare

11 - 06 - 2019

Can well-being be measured in macaques?

Relatively few primates are used in biomedical research *. However, they take part of studies in which their state of well-being can be degraded.

However, there is little information from the observation of animals that can help assess well-being in primates.

A study has just been published on this subject.

This study involved a precise and detailed observation of numerous behavioral parameters in thirty-two Rhesus macaques involved in a neuroscience study that included surgery.

The animals were observed before operation, after waking up from the anesthesia, before and after the administration of an analgesic the day after the intervention.

From the many observations of the behavior and facial mimicry, and despite considerable individual variations, it appears that some indicators give useful information:

               - lip tightening and chewing are more common before analgesic administration

               - running on the ground is less frequent pre-analgesia

               - movements to higher grounds show signs of well-being, whereas eyes half-closed, a tilt of the head or jolts of the body show the opposite.

The results of this study show that the state of well-being or lack-of in macaques can be assessed by observing behavior and mimicry. These routinely used results will improve pain prevention and relief and promote well-being.

* about 0.2% of the total animals used