Animals are a major factor in animal welfare studies, says research expert.
Source: News.au article Animal Crossing design is a favourite in animal study studies, said researcher Dr Peter J. Taylor.
“I think that’s one of the things that makes it a really interesting design to do a study on,” Dr Taylor said.
“It can allow you to get a feel for the psychology of animals, and that they’re social and they’re cooperative, and they are not necessarily necessarily just like humans.”
“You can get a sense of the psychology, and also the social interactions that they might have, and how they interact with each other.”
Animal Crossing design and social interaction design have been used to design the design of several animal study projects over the years.
Dr Taylor said there was no one design that was optimal for the type of study.
“The question is, are there other design options out there that might be more suitable?”
Dr Taylor and his team at the University of Tasmania conducted a study with six male rats in 2015.
“We used a lot of different materials and different techniques to achieve this,” Dr Tim Stump, a senior lecturer in animal science at the university, said.
It involved using a variety of materials and tools to make sure the rats’ behaviour and wellbeing was kept in check.
“In a lot in terms of designing a study, we really need to have an understanding of the animal we are trying to study, how they make decisions and the things they are doing,” Dr Stump said.
For the study, the researchers placed six rats into cages in which each rat was individually housed, and had them walk in circles around a large rectangular table.
“This gives us a lot more control, and we can actually take these animals into a cage and they don’t have to have a constant interaction with each another,” Dr Smith said.
Dr Smith said it was important to keep in mind the rats in the study were young, and not very big animals.
“For us, it was a really great opportunity to look at the behaviour of young animals in the wild,” Dr Scott said.
The rats walked around a rectangular table for 10 minutes each day, and the researchers tracked how well they interacted with each others.
“If they are going to be living in a cage, they need to be able to interact and have some interaction with one another,” he said.”[For] a big animal, they don´t have that interaction, so we need to take into account that.”
Dr Smith was also surprised at how many animals did not like the design.
“One of the questions we asked was, do you like the shape of the cages, do they make you uncomfortable, do their faces make you angry, do the ears and paws make you scratchy?”
Dr Smith noted that the design was popular with children, and some adults as well.
“A lot of kids like the fact that they can just look at these little critters and say, ‘That is a good design’,” Dr Smith added.