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Publication reform to safeguard wildlife from researcher harm
Professional Science Research Ethics Collection
  • Kate A. Field, University of Victoria
  • Paul C. Paquet, University of Victoria
  • Kyle A. Artelle, University of Victoria
  • Gilbert Proulx, Alpha Wildlife Research & Management Ltd.
  • Ryan K. Brook, University of Saskatchewan
  • Chris T. Darimont, University of Victoria
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Despite abundant focus on responsible care of laboratory animals, we argue that inattention to the maltreatment of wildlife constitutes an ethical blind spot in contemporary animal research. We begin by reviewing significant shortcomings in legal and institutional oversight, arguing for the relatively rapid and transformational potential of editorial oversight at journals in preventing harm to vertebrates studied in the field and outside the direct supervision of institutions. Straightforward changes to animal care policies in journals, which our analysis of 206 journals suggests are either absent (34%), weak, incoherent, or neglected by researchers, could provide a practical, effective, and rapidly imposed safeguard against unnecessary suffering. The Animals in Research: Reporting On Wildlife (ARROW) guidelines we propose here, coupled with strong enforcement, could result in significant changes to how animals involved in wildlife research are treated. The research process would also benefit. Sound science requires animal subjects to be physically, physiologically, and behaviorally unharmed. Accordingly, publication of methods that contravenes animal welfare principles risks perpetuating inhumane approaches and bad science.


Copyright: © 2019 Field et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Citation Information
: Field KA, Paquet PC, Artelle K, Proulx G, Brook RK, Darimont CT (2019) Publication reform to safeguard wildlife from researcher harm. PLoS Biol 17(4): e3000193. journal.pbio.3000193