Guidelines on the observation, handling and care of animals in field research

  • Whilst the University Research Ethics Committee’s terms of reference refer only to research carried out with human participants, any research carried out that involves the observation and handling of an animal, bird or insect in field research in the wild must be shown to adhere to guidelines as set out by professional bodies. This runs parallel to the University's Code of Practice for Academic Integrity that sets out the procedures of the University with respect to the promotion of good practice in research.

    In the field different creatures are encountered in a variety of studies aimed at:

    • understanding behaviour and any ecological impact
    • the conservation of species
    • population management
    • evaluating methodologies for control
    • understanding the role of wildlife in the transmission of disease.

    Although most researchers in this area of expertise will be members of or affiliated to a professional body and will be aware of good practice and guidelines in observing and handling animals in field research, this information should be used as a basic guide for information.

    Useful reference material:

    The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour

    NC3Rs information portal

    The American Society of Mammalogists see the Animal Care and Use Guidelines approved by the society, prepared by the Animal Care and Use Committee

    The International Primatological Society

    C. M. Sherwin. (2006) Guidelines for the treatment of animals in behavioural research and teaching. Animal Behaviour 71: 245–253. DOI:10.1016/j.anbehav.2005.10.001