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Annual Per Diem Survey Shows DAR Continues to Provide Great Value for Animal Research



The 2011 Annual Per Diem Survey conducted by Yale University and distributed on February 25, 2012 showed good value for Emory researchers as related to per diem rates that were below the calculated national averages for mice, rats, hamsters, nonhuman primates, sheep and swine. The rates charged by DAR were above the national averages for cats, dogs, guinea pigs, frogs, and rabbits. While no specific analysis was done, conjecture is that those Emory rates that exceed national averages were due to a combination of a lack of economy of scale (dogs, cats, guinea pigs), significant costs related to breeding incorporated within the base rates (rabbits), and/or high veterinary care requirements (rabbits, guinea pigs, frogs). No data was available via the survey for agnatha, chicks, songbirds or animal quarantine-related costs.



In particular, rodent users at Emory benefited from extraordinarily low rates for rodent care with the following rates by species (and the parenthetical decrease below the national average) provided: $0.50 mouse auto-water (86%; e.g., the national average was $0.93), $0.67 mouse microisolator (10%), $0.84 mouse sterile housing (15%), $0.93 mouse biohazard (7%), $0.61 rats (50%), and $0.62 hamsters (33%). Whereas 55% of reporting institutions charged separately for the management of hazardous chemicals administered to animals, Emory researchers profit from having these costs incorporated into the already low rates.



While there are a number of factors contributing to our highly competitive rodent rates, the DAR acknowledges a number of investments by the health sciences center in the design and construction of efficient animal research facilities and particularly an emphasis on cost-saving automation and related technology.



The DAR ascribes to an observation attributed to mouse geneticist John Mercer in that low rates are "…like getting a grant that can never be taken away" (Vogel G. The mouse house as a recruiting tool. Science 288(5464): 254, 2000.). Low rates and quality care enable more frequent, innovative and daring experiments, promote faculty recruitment and retention, enable DAR to meet its mission, and facilitate the university vision of excelling at discovery, generating wisdom, unequalled at translational breakthroughs, and making discoveries that benefit Emory, Atlanta and the world.



Additional highlights from the report included an average of 14% of mouse genotypes under cryopreservation and 44% of institutions did not allow acquisition of rodents from other than commercial sources. Emory was one of the more decentralized facilities reporting 10 animal research facilities whereas the national average was 7. Mice, rats, rabbits, small swine and guinea pigs were the five most commonly housed species. The most frequently reported infectious agents in mice were Helicobacter (75%), MNV (64%), fur mites (31%), MPV (27%) and pinworms (13%). Emory was among the most innovative in adopting composting of non-hazardous rodent bedding (7% of institutions) and the use of robotic automation in cage washing operations (15% of institutions). Although not a component of the survey, recent analysis conducted by the DAR shows that it costs 53% less to wash a cage in our one roboticized cage wash room as compared to our 6 other cage washing facilities.



A total of 55 public and private research institutions contributed data to the survey. Peer or comparable institutional participants included Duke, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Rockefeller University, Michigan, UAB, Penn, Virginia, Washington University, and Yale. Five institutions providing data remained anonymous.



Prepared by Michael J, Huerkamp, DVM, DACLAM (Director, DAR)
Date: February 29, 2012