3-Ethical issues, harm-benefit assessment and humane endpoints
Each research project has its own set of ethical challenges, but the following general questions should be raised for all projects:
- Have national or local research ethics committees already produced statements relevant to the research being planned?
- Have the Three Rs (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement) been addressed, and will any advances in this area be mentioned in publications of the study (remembering that many databases only index the title and abstract of papers)? Which non-animal alternatives have been considered but rejected?
- Have the Three S's (Good Science, Good Sense and Good Sensibilities) been addressed?
- Does the proposed study have a clear rationale and scientific relevance, and what will be the next step if the hypothesis is supported or rejected?
- Have the experiments been carried out before, and is any repetition justifiable?
- What approaches to reduce distress have been considered?
‘Choosing the right animal for the right reason’ (Harry Rowsell).
The large increase in use of genetically altered lines has created increasing concern about the suitability of these animals as models of human conditions. This, and the high level of attrition in animal research, is discussed in a paper by Joseph Garner (2014): The Significance of Meaning: Why Do Over 90% of Behavioral Neuroscience Results Fail to Translate to Humans, and What Can We Do to Fix It?
Ethics are also discussed in a separate section of this website.
Perform a Harm-Benefit Assessment and justify any likely animal harm.
For fish researchers
This page was updated on 01 September 2021
This section will be used to publish resources for fish researchers and animal care staff.
- Seminar on animal research and ethics (in Norwegian) including a talk on ethical issues with fish as experimental animals
- Managing fish welfare in intensive aquaculture: current practices and future possibilities (Kadri, 3 November 2020)
- How to ensure good welfare practices in the aquaculture industry (Filipa, 3 November 2020)
- Improving fish welfare in the aquaculture industry (Stien, 3 November 2020)
- The salmon, the louse and the cleaner fish (Lybæk, 5 November 2020)
- Ethical considerations in fish research (Sloman et al., 2019)
- Do fish feel pain? (Braithwaite, 2010)
- Evolution of nociception and pain: evidence from fish models (Sneddon, 2019)
- Welfare of fish - no longer the elephant in the room (Saraiva & Arechavala-Lopez, 2019)
- Toni et al (2019) Review: Assessing fish welfare in research and aquaculture, with a focus on European directives. Animal, 13(1): 161-170.
- Browman et al (2018) Welfare of aquatic animals: where things are, where they are going, and what it means for research, aquaculture, recreational angling, and commercial fishing. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 76(1): 82-92.
- Sneddon et al (2018) Fish sentience denial: Muddying the waters. Animal Sentience, 21(1).
- Nordgreen et al (2009) Thermonociception in fish: Effects of two different doses of morphine on thermal threshold and post-test behaviour in goldfish (Carassius auratus). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 119(1-2): 101-107.