23 May 2017

Animal technician from AEM wins the 3R Award for Animal Keepers and Technical Staff

Animal technician Annett Christoffersen from the Department of Experimental Medicine is the driving force behind the tending of chickens for trials at Rørrendegård. On 24 April 2017 she received the ‘2017 3R award for animal keepers and technical staff’.

The 3R award for animal keepers and technical staff is a brand new prize presented for the first time this year by the Danish Society of Animal Protection Organisations  (DOSO), Animal Protection Denmark  and the Danish Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry. The award ceremony was held in connection with the annual seminar on test animals in the Marble Hall at the Frederiksberg Campus SUND on 24 April 2017.

‘I am so overwhelmed. My collaboration with the researchers has always been great, and I am incredibly pleased to know that they think so too. It may just be the greatest recognition you can get as an animal technician’, says Animal technician at the Department of Experimental Medicine (AEM) at SUND Annett Christoffersen.

’Nothing Escapes Annett’s Attention’
The past seven years Annett Christoffersen has been the driving force behind the tending of chickens for trials at Rørrendegård’s facility for larger test animals. Here both her colleagues and the animals have benefitted from her work, says Postdoc at the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Ida Thøfner, who as a researcher and principal investigator is one of the people who have recommended Annett Christoffersen for the award. 

‘The researchers benefit from Annett’s highly inquisitive mind, her commitment and insight. Annett has a unique sense of the dynamic and behaviour of a group of chickens, which is a result of her great interest in the animals. She can spot the slightest deviation from the normal and determine whether something has to be done about it. I am happy to see Annett be recognised by others than the researchers’. 

Postdoc Susanne Pors, who works at Rigshospitalet, but used to work together with Annett Christoffersen at the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, has also recommended Annett Christoffersen for the award:

‘Annette is incredibly calm, which means that the chickens feel safe around her and do not get stressed, even though they are used for trials a lot. She very much contributes to giving the researchers the best possible conditions for our trials, while securing the best possible animal welfare at the facility, where nothing escapes Annett’s attention’.

A Demanding Test Animal
Chickens are in many ways an unusual choice of test animal both considering its anatomy, behaviour and development, and if you want to use chickens in trials you need to consider a series of extraordinary things compared to more traditional test animals such as mice and rats. They pose many challenges, both in connection with care and test design. In her work, Annett Christoffersen has been responsible for e.g.:

  • Testing sitting boxes and sticks
  • Alternative feeding methods and screening to prevent pecking and cannibalism
  • Various ways of improving the environment (e.g. activities and exercise) in order to increase the welfare of the animals and to reduce the strain on them during trials
  • Design of an immobilisation bench for blood sampling, which keeps the hen in a relaxed position
  • Installation and testing of video/webcam surveillance of activity and behaviour to identify the chickens’ preferred sitting boxes

The article was originally published on the Faculty's internal personnel site on 27 April, 2017.