In the presence of representatives from science, politics and the press, the new animal husbandry building at the DPZ was opened on Thursday, September 29. PriCaB, short for "Primate Cognition and Behavior", will uniquely combine primate husbandry and breeding with scientific studies on cognition and animal welfare, thus expanding DPZ's research profile.
After DPZ Director Stefan Treue welcomed the guests, Veronika von Messling, Ministerial Director at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, gave a welcoming speech. She began by expressing her pleasure at being able to visit the DPZ for the first time and praised the new building as a "fitting and forward-looking structure that combines the latest standards in animal husbandry and scientific experimentation." The PriCaB reflects in a special way the philosophy of the DPZ that excellent research also needs excellent conditions for husbandry, animal welfare and transparency, von Messling further emphasized. "Research and animal welfare are not mutually exclusive, but can be mutually reinforcing," she said. For years, she said, the BMBF has been committed to the further development and application of 3Rs approaches and animal experimentation replacement methods. A total of more than 600 projects have already received 200 million euros in funding, von Messling said.
"PriCaB brings together two central aspects of the DPZ," said Stefan Treue. "We are a research institute with service tasks. The biggest service part is to breed primates for German science. At PriCaB, we can combine that with our research. We can apply non-invasive research methods to the breeding groups, keeping animal welfare in mind. This is optimal science for optimal animal husbandry. The scientific focus will be cognition and behavior."
In particular, the animals' namesake cognition skills can be explored new PriCaB with equipment for playful interaction without the animals having to leave their social group. A camera system combined with novel analysis and recognition programs will also be used to track the animals' behavior and health status individually and around the clock.
The PriCaB building was named in analogy to the new research building HuCaB for "Human Cognition and Behavior", which was recently approved at the University of Göttingen. The two buildings extend the joint research of the University and the DPZ within the Leibniz ScienceCampus Primate Cognition. Both approaches enable comparative research, as parallel studies with monkeys and humans will be possible with closely matched observational approaches.
After the welcoming speeches, the guests were given a tour of the building. Inside, members of the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory explained the new scientific approaches and presented the possibilities of the new camera system that will be installed in the near future.
Finally, at the end of the event, Veronika von Messling and Sabine Johannsen, State Secretary of the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony, symbolically handed over the key to the DPZ management.