The welfare of our laboratory animals is important for us. We carefully select our breeders and rely on scientific findings to optimize animal housing. Training is used to reduce stress and fears.
Where do laboratory animals come from?
As required by law, Bayer obtains most of its research animals from authorized breeders. The breeders are continuously inspected by Bayer’s Animal Welfare Officers and monitored by the relevant veterinary authorities.
The only time Bayer departs from this procedure is when no official breeders exist, as in the case of agricultural livestock and fish. When these animals are needed, Bayer obtains them from selected agricultural farms and fisheries, as is permitted under specific regulations. A small number of animals, mainly genetically modified (transgenic) mice, are bred at Bayer.
How do laboratory animals live?
Our approach is based on the latest scientific findings in the fields of animal welfare and animal husbandry. One of these findings is the importance of social enrichment. This means that our animals are housed in groups if possible, and in cages designed with secluded areas where the animals can go unobserved.
It is also now standard practice to equip animal pens with toys and exercise devices wherever possible. These items, referred to by scientists as environmental enrichment, include toy balls, climbing accessories, raised levels and scratching posts.
A large team of veterinarians, biologists, animal technicians and animal caretakers monitor the health and well-being of the animals in our care. When it comes to how the animals are kept, Bayer strictly observes the requirements of the law, and often exceeds them.
How are Bayer animals trained?
Animal training is an essential element in the reduction of stress in laboratory animals. We train the animals in order to reduce their fear of general handling as well as to improve their cooperation within the experiment.
Trained animals need only minimal or even no restraint during medical procedures like drawing blood or giving medication. Training also reduces aggression in the animals, and allows them to behave more cooperatively within their groups.
Certified animal caretakers are responsible for training our research animals. They are experts in operant conditioning, the primary training method we use. The training increases the safety of both the animals and the staff members who handle them during studies. Also, dogs are usually adapted to walk on a leash before adoption, to help them settle in their new homes.