It has become mandatory for the application for allowance of animal experimentation to rate the severity of the experimental procedures. In order to minimize suffering related to animal experimentation it is therefore crucial to develop appropriate methods for the assessment of animal suffering. Physiological parameters such as hormones or body weight are used to assess stress in laboratory animals. However, such physiological parameters alone are often difficult to interpret and leave a wide scope for interpretation. More recently, behavior, feelings and emotions have come increasingly into the focus of welfare research. Tests like preference tests or cognitive bias tests give insight on how animals evaluate certain situations or objects, how they feel and what their emotional state is. These methods should be combined in order to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the well-being of laboratory animals.
Keywords: animal welfare; cognitive bias; preference test; refinement; severity assessment.