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Every mouse is checked every day by a trained team of animal technicians. This includes weekends, bank holidays and Christmas. The animal technicians make sure that any health problems are addressed, that mice have sufficient food, water and dry bedding, and that the environmental conditions are correct. A veterinary surgeon is also available 24 hours a day 365 days a year to advise on any health concerns and potential medicinal requirements.


The mice are housed in individually ventilated cages (IVC). Each cage has its own highly filtered air supply to provide the animals with a controlled environment. The base of each cage is filled with sterilised aspen wood bedding, not sawdust. This bedding has been though a special preparation process where it is dried, filtered and dusty particles removed and then quality checked before being packed and sent to the MLC.

Food and water

The food is sterilised by exposure to irradiation and provides all the nutrition a mouse requires to grow and be healthy. The water is filtered and treated to ensure good quality.

Cage environment

Within the cage there is shredded paper and a cardboard tunnel. The mice build nests and interact with this environmental enrichment within the cage.

As mice are sociable animals there is a ‘companion’ policy at Harwell, this means wherever possible mice are placed with a cage mate to ensure they are not living alone.

Find out more

To find out more see our virtual 360° tour of the Mary Lyon Centre in collaboration with Understanding Animal Research.

If you have any questions about welfare at MRC Harwell please get in touch with us:

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