Reducing Stress to Rodents by use of a Welfare Screen

Rodent Welfare Screen

Our Procedural Screens were developed in conjunction with St George’s University of London.

The aim was to design a screen that could be placed between rodents to prevent them from seeing each other during procedures and therefore reduce stress caused by sight, sounds and smell.

 We designed a couple of different variations of the rodent welfare screen, and the preferred version was hinged for ease of storage.


  • Blocks visual stimuli to home cage animals, reducing their stress.
  • Ease of disinfecting/sterilising.
  • Ease of use.
  • Translucent plastic allows technicians to have uninterrupted viewing of animals.
  • High benefits at an affordable price.


Below is the study poster created by staff at St Georges.

Reducing stress to rodents by use of a Screen
Developed with UCL

It is widely acknowledged that most procedures should not be done in the presence of other animals, due to stress caused by sight, sound and smell. We as technicians are constantly asking ourselves the question, what more can we do to refine the way we work?

We began looking at ways we could improve the culture of care in the facility and review if the procedures being carried out could be refined.

Research shows that rodents are known to recognise and have emotional reactions (to show empathy) when exposed to cage-mates in pain1, and that in turn could potentially “contaminate data”. Some scientists in Canada are using screens between mice undergoing experiments.

Reviewing feedback from technicians on the first barrier we started to look at;

  • Could it be made foldable?
  • Could it also be made from an opaque material?
  • Can it be cage-washed / autoclaved?

The screen is placed between the home cage and the procedure area



  • Blocks visual stimuli to home cage animals, reducing their stress.
  • Ease of disinfecting/sterilizing.
  • Ease of use for operators.
  • Ease of storage due to hinges implemented into the design.
  • Translucent plastic allows technicians to have uninterrupted viewing of animals at any given time.
  • High benefit at affordable price

Future Goals

This screen is fully protective of visual stimulation, however, it is important to consider how sound and smell can cause stress and will be a consideration in future work.

Additional improvements will include;

  • Cage-washable
  • Autoclavable
  • We will then focus on making the product widely available


1. Social Modulation of Pain as Evidence for Empathy in Mice

Dale J. Langford et. al. Science. 2006 Jun 30;312(5782):1967-70.

2. Mice show evidence of empathy Ishani Ganguli The Scientist June 30, 2006 [accessed online February 2017]

3. Rat sensory world. What do Rats see? [online] Available at [accessed February 2017]

Please click here to download the full case study poster:

Animal Welfare Screen Revamp