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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Guidelines for the Ethical Use of Animals

Authors
item Sherwin, C - UNIV OF BRISTOL,UK
item Christiansen, S - ROYAL VET UNIV DENMARK
item Duncan, I - UNIV OF GUELPH CANADA
item Erhard, H - CRAGIEBUCKLER,UK
item Lay, Jr, Donald
item Mench, Joy - UNIV OF CALIFORNIA
item O'Connor, C - LANDCARE RES,NZ
item Petherick, C - SWANS LAGOON AUSTRALIA

Submitted to: Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 1, 2002
Publication Date: January 1, 2002
Citation: SHERWIN, C.M., CHRISTIANSEN, S.B., DUNCAN, I.J., ERHARD, H., LAY JR, D.C., MENCH, J., O'CONNOR, C., PETHERICK, C. GUIDELINES FOR THE ETHICAL USE OF ANIMALS. APPLIED ANIMAL BEHAVIOR SCIENCE. V. 81. P. 291-305.

Interpretive Summary: An area of applied ethology that has had a continuing interest is promotion of the welfare and ethical treatment of animals. However, there are currently no guidelines written specifically for those engaged in applied ethology studies. Therefore, there is a need for a set of written guidelines specific for applied ethology. They have been written to increase awareness, encourage individual thought and stimulate discussion of the ethical issues surrounding applied animal behavior research. The focus is therefore on the ethical principles and how to handle these. There is a strong need for justification of the use of animals in behavioral research, and some guarantee that the research is conducted in an ethically acceptable manner. Concerns about the use of animals in research are being voiced by both the scientific and lay communities. To address these concerns, the investigator should first assess whether the purpose of the experiment justifies the use of animals. If the purpose is found to be justified, the investigator should next consider what criteria must be met for the experiment to be acceptable. This includes an assessment of the likely pain, distress and suffering that might be caused to the animals, and an evaluation of what level of suffering can be considered acceptable in that particular context. The investigator should be able to explain and justify his/her conclusions in order to demonstrate awareness of the ethical issues and facilitate dialogue between interested parties. Finally, a critical assessment of the experimental design will promote better quality of the research. This approach will benefit both scientists and the research community as a whole by generating sound experimental data and the respect of society.

Technical Abstract: A area of applied ethology that has had a continuing interest is promotion of the welfare and ethical treatment of animals. However, there are currently no guidelines written specifically for those engaged in applied ethology studies. Therefore, there is a need for a set of written guidelines specific for applied ethology. We have written these to increase awareness, encourage individual thought and stimulate discussion of the ethical issues surrounding applied animal behavior research. The focus is therefore on the ethical principles and how to handle these, rather than a list of do's and don'ts applicable to all scenarios. There is a strong need for justification of the use of animals in behavioral research, and some guarantee that the research is conducted in an ethically acceptable manner. Concerns about the use of animals in research are being voiced by both the scientific and lay communities. To address these concerns before conducting behavioral research, the investigator should first assess whether the purpose of the experiment justifies the use of animals. If the purpose is found to be justified, the investigator should next consider what criteria must be met for the experiment to be acceptable. This includes an assessment of the likely pain, distress and suffering that might be caused to the animals, and an evaluation of what level of suffering can be considered acceptable in that particular context. The investigator should be able to explain and justify his/her conclusions in order to demonstrate awareness of the ethical issues and facilitate dialogue between interested parties. Finally, a critical assessment of the experimental design will promote better quality of the research.

Last Modified: 7/23/2014
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