All animals are monitored daily. These are the experimental animals as well as the animals used for breeding purposes. At weekdays, this daily monitoring is performed by animal caretakers. On bank holidays or during the weekend, we have a rotation schedule in which the animal caretakers, as well as the researchers, are responsible for the daily monitoring. During this monitoring, it is checked whether the animals have sufficient amount of food and water at their disposal. When necessary, the food and drinking water are refilled. In addition, it is checked whether there are any sick or wounded animals. When this occurs, the responsible researcher and animal welfare body are contacted. They will decide, in mutual conversation, how the animal needs to be taken care of and followed up and whether it needs to be euthanized. Also during the weekend and on bank holidays, this treatment and follow-up or the euthanasia needs to be conducted immediately.
Furthermore, the responsible researcher will daily (or multiple times per day) monitor the animals in his/her experiment in detail and document any possible clinical signs. For each individual animal, there is an online welfare diary in which aberrant behaviour and/or physical abnormalities are documented. Each note in the welfare diaries is automatically reported to the animal welfare body, which in turn will decide upon the treatment, follow-up and possible euthanasia of the animal. After each study, an evaluation is done, in which we investigate how the welfare of animals in future experiments can be improved.
In addition, the external veterinarian performs an inspection every three months. Finally, every five years, each lab is being inspected by the Animal welfare office of the Flemish department of Environment.