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Visits also provide an opportunity to talk informally with animal

care staff and so can help in getting a feel for the overall

culture of the institution. When viewing procedures, it is

particularly helpful if a member of the animal care staff, or a

veterinarian, and/or a relevant scientist is available to explain

the procedure and answer any questions, and good ERBs will

ensure this happens.

Practical matters

The RSPCA"s housing and care guidelines mentioned above are designed to help consider how well the animals'

needs are catered for. Some additional, general points to think about are listed overleaf. Other points to bear in

mind are:

 It can be helpful to visit with one or two other members of the ERB (if the facility can accommodate this), to

compare perspectives on what you see.

 Usually you will be given protective clothing to wear during the visit, such as a lab coat or overalls, latex gloves,

overshoes and a face-mask. This is to avoid infection entering the animal house and to protect staff and visitors

from allergy.

 For the same reasons you may need to shower before entering a particular area, and if you have visited another

animal facility recently, you may be asked to delay your visit for a set time afterwards, to avoid any possibility of

cross-contamination.

 Be aware that your presence can be stressful for some animals, so take advice from experienced staff about

how to behave and interact with the animals. Your interaction starts when you approach and open the door to

the room, not just when in front of the animals" cage or enclosure, as sudden noises can be startling.

 Also consider how to approach animals of different species, and how they interpret human body language.

For example, it may be acceptable to stare at a cage of mice from across a room, and many dogs respond to

eye contact by coming over to interact with humans, but most primates consider a direct stare to be aggressive

and threatening.

Reporting back after a visit

If you are a part of a national or

regional ERB it is also important to

gain an understanding of how animals

are cared for and used, and so you

should also be offered the chance to

visit institutional animal facilities.

The ERB should be interested in your views as a lay

member, so reporting back is important. After each visit,

you should have the opportunity to feedback your

impressions to the ERB, ask any additional questions

and/or raise any concerns for discussion by the ERB.

It is important to be honest about what you think and

to make sure any concerns are followed up.

Index

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