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Research article2013Peer reviewedOpen access

Report of the Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations Working Group on animal identification

Dahlborn, Kristina; Bugnon, Philippe; Nevalainen, T.; Raspa, Marcello; Verbost, Pieter; Spangenberg, Elin


The primary aim of this report is to assist scientists in selecting more reliable/suitable identification (ID) methods for their studies. This is especially true for genetically altered (GA) animals where individual identification is strictly necessary to link samples, research design and genotype. The aim of this Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations working group was to provide an update of the methods used to identify rodents in different situations and to assess their implications for animal welfare. ID procedures are an indispensable prerequisite for conducting good science but the degree of invasiveness differs between the different methods; therefore, one needs to make a good ethical evaluation of the method chosen. Based on the scientific literature the advantages and disadvantages of various methods have been presented comprehensively and this report is intended as a practical guide for researchers. New upcoming methods have been included next to the traditional techniques. Ideally, an ID method should provide reliable identification, be technically easy to apply and not inflict adverse effects on animals while taking into account the type of research. There is no gold standard method because each situation is unique; however, more studies are needed to better evaluate ID systems and the desirable introduction of new and modern approaches will need to be assessed by detailed scientific evaluation.


Animal welfare; biopsy; refinement; rodent identification; toe clipping

Published in

Laboratory Animals
2013, Volume: 47, number: 1, pages: 2-11 Publisher: SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC