Skip Navigation
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthCAAT

Symposium on Social Housing of Laboratory Animals

caatlogo.jpg     olawlogo.png    usdalogo.gif        

Co-hosted by the USDA Animal Welfare Information Center, NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, the Johns Hopkins Department of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT).

This symposium brings together experts in animal behavior and welfare to address common issues in trying to achieve the mandate for social housing for social species. Participants will be encouraged to discuss  special issues they are facing at their institutions. 

2019 Symposium on Social Housing of Laboratory Animals

June 3-4, 2019  Registrations will be open soon.
USDA National Agricultural Library
Beltsville, MD
In collaboration with USDA Animal Welfare Information Center, NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, and the Johns Hopkins Department of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology.

Full program details here.
For further information please contact Camila Januario
• • • • • • • • • • • 


June 4-5, 2018
USDA National Agricultural Library
Beltsville, MD

The conference will covered two days of didactic content, interactive discussion, and problem-solving regarding the methods of social housing of common laboratory species. 

About the Symposium Series 

The goal of this symposium series is to bring together experts in the behavior and science of laboratory animal species to exchange information with scientists, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) members, veterinarians, and animal care technicians about the welfare needs of social laboratory animal species and the means to achieve optimal social housing conditions in a variety of settings. The format includes two days of lectures in the morning followed by interactive breakout sessions in the afternoon. These lectures give participants a strong foundation in the relevant research underlying socialization and behavioral management efforts, while the breakout sessions allow participants to get feedback specific to their own facilities from experts and colleagues. 

This Year's Symposium

This year, we will start out with a keynote on play behavior and positive affective states in several species, followed by talks focusing on the specific housing needs of rabbits, swine, and rodents. The afternoon will commence with input from the USDA, OLAW, and AAALAC regarding current policies and guidance, followed by the breakout session. The second day will begin with housing considerations and harm/benefit analysis and will then cover the current best practices for the social housing of old world monkeys. In the afternoon, we will learn about the psychological well-being of fish before ending with another breakout session. 

On Sunday, June 3rd at 10 am there will be a tour of the National Zoo in D.C. including the veterinary hospital. The tour is open for maximum of 40 people. Please indicate if you want to attend the zoo tour when you register. 

Registration Options:

Registration is now open - click HERE to register! Registration is still open! You may also register on-site.  

The symposium and the didactic portion of the workshop will be held on June 4th and 5th at USDA National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, MD.

  1. Attend both days of the Social Housing Symposium (June 4 and 5, 2018) $250; post-doc, resident and government rates: $200; student rate: $125.
  2. Attend one day of the Social Housing Symposium (June 4 or June 5, 2018) $150; post-doc, resident and government rates: $125; student rate: $75.

Please note:

*If you are attending only one day, please select the correct option on the registration page, here.
*If you are registering as a student, post-doc or resident please email proof and registration to Michelle Downes (



Pre-Symposium Activity

Sunday, June 3
10am - National Zoo visit, including animal hospital, Washington, D.C.

DAY 1: Monday, June 4
USDA National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD

8:30-8:45: Organizer’s Welcome

8:45-9:45: Play Behavior and Positive Affective States
Jamie Ahloy Dallaire

9:45-10:30: Social Housing of Rabbits
Sarah Thurston

10:30-11:00: Break

11:00-11:45: Social Housing of Miniature Swine
Derek Brocksmith

11:45-12:30: Naturalistic Housing for Rats and Mice
Joanna Makowska

12:30-1:30: Lunch

1:30-2:30: Case Studies from the Field: a Perspective from USDA, OLAW, and AAALAC International
Representatives: Gwendalyn Maginnis, Patricia Brown, and Gary Borkowski​

2:30-4:50: Breakout Sessions

DAY 2, Tuesday, June 5

8:30-9:20: Discovering Refinement Techniques to Reduce Pain and Distress
Kristina Adams

9:20-10:10: Social Housing of Old World Primates
Dawn Abney

10:10-10:40  Break

10:40-11:30: Why Researchers Need to Care About Social Housing (and Other Refinements)
Kelly Metcalf Pate and Joe Mankowski

11:30-12:30: Group Learning Activity

12:30-1:30: Lunch

1:30-2:20: Psychological Well-being of Fish – Where We’ve Come From and Where We’re Going
Becca Franks

2:30-4:50: Breakout Sessions