Environmental Enrichment and Exercise


The 1985 amendments to the Animal Welfare Act included provisions for the promotion of the psychological well-being of nonhuman primates and for exercise for dogs. Today, many research, teaching and testing facilities have established environmental enrichment programs for all animal species.

In this section, you will find general information on enrichment for laboratory animals. Species-specific information is found by going to the various Laboratory Animal Species pages of this site. Additional resources are found in the enrichment sections for Zoo, Circus and Marine Animals and Farm Animals.



Rhesus monkeys grooming Environmental Enrichment for Nonhuman Primates Resource Guide, 2014

USDA. NAL. Animal Welfare Information Center.




AC and OLAW Perspective on Nonhuman Primate Enrichment and Social Housing

NIH. Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.

Found under Special Seminars, this free webinar discusses the USDA and NIH perspective on social housing and provision of environmental enrichment for nonhuman primates. Transcripts and slides are provided.


USDA Perspective on Environmental Enrichment for Animals (PDF | 275 KB)

ILAR Journal.

This article provides a brief history of the 1985 Animal Welfare Act amendments and information on implementation of the regulations regarding exercise for dogs and environmental enhancement for nonhuman primates.


Guinea pig in a PVC environmental enrichment tube Refinement and Environmental Enrichment Resources for All Animals Kept in Laboratories

Animal Welfare Institute.

This database contains reference material on all aspects of refinement of housing and handling conditions and environmental enrichment for all animals kept in research, testing and teaching institutions.


The Shape of Enrichment's Safety Database

Shape of Enrichment.

This database allows you to search by animal taxa, enrichment device/materials, and hazard.


Database on Refinement of Housing and Handling Conditions and Environmental Enrichment for Animals kept in Laboratories

Animal Welfare Institute.

This searchable database provides citations on refinement and environmental enrichment for rodents, rabbits, rats, dogs, ferrets, farm animals, horses, birds, fishes, amphibians and reptiles.


Practical Enrichment Options for Animals Kept in Research Institutions

Animal Welfare Institute.

Enrichment ideas and practical tips from the "Laboratory Animals Refinement and Enrichment Forum" and from other published information.


The Shape of Enrichment, Inc.

The Shape of Enrichment was founded in 1991 as a partnership to further animal enrichment efforts worldwide. Articles written in the quarterly publication are dedicated to exchanging enrichment ideas among animal caretakers. Past articles include enrichment techniques for exotic pigs, large ungulates, and a variety of bird species, as well as many other animals.


Experimental Animal User Training: Environmental Enrichment

Canadian Council on Animal Care.

A training course designed to teach animal care personnel about animal behavior, environmental enrichment strategies, and examples of enrichment for laboratory animals from mice to monkeys.


Operant Conditioning

AnimalBehaviour.net.

Resources for applied ethology.


Nonhuman Primate Enrichment and Social Housing Resources

NIH. Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.

Resources to assist PHS awardee institutions in enhancing the care and well-being of nonhuman primates, including a webinar, reports, and answers to commonly asked questions.