cient evidence to infer a serious detriment in psychological well-being. The first sign of any abnormality is often a change in behavior. If the atypical behavior of an animal can be attributed to its age and sex, the behavior might be persistent and acceptable for that animal. Whereas it might be argued that rearing conditions and treatments that lead to atypical behavioral profiles should be avoided as undesirable, animals already reared under such conditions can be maintained in ways that are supportive of their individual psychological well-being as an amelioration of unusual behavior patterns caused by their earlier life experiences.
Assessment of psychological well-being should be based on the factors listed above. For example, the brief occurrence of symptoms associated with stress is not evidence of a chronic state of distress. The entrance of an unfamiliar person into an animal colony room might provoke expressions of acute fear from animals that do not ordinarily exhibit such symptoms. Furthermore, the absence of all environmental stressors is not required to prevent distress; in fact, the elicitation of normal effective coping responses to the minor stressors of life can be beneficial.
Nevertheless, in the assessment of a program designed to provide for the psychological well-being of nonhuman primates, all recognizable instances of behavior and physiology that deviate from the species normative pattern warrant further inquiry. Such instances should be noted, and colony records should indicate that an appropriately trained person offered a provisional diagnosis and instructions for disposition of the case. Once an appropriate person has assumed responsibility for remediation or has prescribed for the psychological well-being of the animals in question, this should be regarded as an appropriate clinical response.
A well-designed plan to provide for the psychological well-being of nonhuman primates must also provide for their physical well-being. Providing for psychological well-being, however, might require some compromise with standards for maximizing sanitation and isolating individual animals from all sources of potential contaminants. Beyond reasonable physical well-being, psychological well-being is enhanced by
Absolute standards or minimums are neither possible nor desirable for each of those four characteristics, because of the great variability of each animal's previous history and needs and the variability among the institutions holding them. No single solution will always be best, and at present the research required