One of the more interesting approaches to making this procedure less stressful is to use another animals that has evolved to steal other animals blood without them even noticing --blood-sucking insects.Two different researchers have used Dipetalogaster maximus (common name: "the kissing bug:) to collect blood from rabbits and found the blood collected equivalent in quality to a traditional blood draw with a hypodermic.
This technique is also promising for use with wild and captive exotic animals who are even more easily stressed than animals kept in a laboratory.It might seem like a complicated way of going about something that can be done more easily by using physical restraint, but I think this is the kind of innovation that will ultimately lead to animals living complete, enjoyable lives in the laboratory without the kinds of routine stress many currently experience.
- Markvardsen, S. N., Kjelgaard-Hansen, M., Ritz, C., & Sørensen, D. B. (2012). Less invasive blood sampling in the animal laboratory: clinical chemistry and haematology of blood obtained by the Triatominae bug Dipetalogaster maximus. Laboratory animals, 46(2), 136-141.
- Voigt, C. C., Faßbender, M., Dehnhard, M., Wibbelt, G., Jewgenow, K., Hofer, H., & Schaub, G. A. (2004). Validation of a minimally invasive blood-sampling technique for the analysis of hormones in domestic rabbits, Oryctolagus cuniculus(Lagomorpha). General and comparative endocrinology, 135(1), 100-107.