Noise produced by animals and animal care activities is inherent in the operation of an animal facility (Pfaff and Stecker 1976). Therefore, noise control should be considered in facility design and operation (Pekrul 1991). Assessment of the potential effects of noise on an animal warrants consideration of the intensity, frequency, rapidity of onset, duration, and vibration potential of the sound and the hearing range, noise-exposure history, and sound-effect susceptibility of the species, stock, or strain.

Separation of human and animal areas minimizes disturbances to both the human and animal occupants of the facility. Noisy animals—such as dogs, swine, goats, and nonhuman primates—should be housed away from quieter animals, such as rodents, rabbits, and cats. Environments should be designed to accommodate animals that make noise, rather than resorting to methods of noise reduction. Exposure to sound louder than 85 dB can have both auditory and nonauditory effects (Fletcher 1976; Peterson 1980), including eosinopenia and increased adrenal weights in rodents (Geber and others 1966; Nayfield and Besch 1981), reduced fertility in rodents (Zondek and Tamari 1964), and increased blood pressure in nonhuman primates (Peterson and others 1981). Many species can hear frequencies of sound that are inaudible to humans (Brown and Pye 1975; Warfield 1973), 50 the potential effects of equipment and materials that produce noise in the hearing range of nearby animals—such as video display terminals (Sales 1991) should be carefully considered. To the greatest extent possible, activities that might be noisy should be conducted in rooms or areas separate from those used for animal housing.

Because changes in patterns of sound exposure have different effects on different animals (Armano and others 1985; Clough 1982), personnel should try to minimize the production of unnecessary noise. Excessive and intermittent noise can be minimized by training personnel in alternatives to practices that produce noise and by the use of cushioned casters and bumpers on carts, trucks, and racks. Radios, alarms, and other sound generators should not be used in animal rooms unless they are parts of an approved protocol or an enrichment program.


Structural Environment

The structural environment consists of components of the primary enclosure—cage furniture, equipment for environmental enrichment, objects for manipulation by the animals, and cage complexities. Depending on the animal species and use, the structural environment should include resting boards, shelves or perches, toys, foraging devices, nesting materials, tunnels, swings, or other ob-

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement