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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

The Dividing Line Between Wildlife Research and Management-Implications for Animal Welfare

Lindsjo, Johan; Cvek, Katarina; Spangenberg, Elin M. F.; Olsson, Johan N. G.; Steen, Margareta

Abstract

Wild animals are used for research and management purposes in Sweden and throughout the world. Animals are often subjected to similar procedures and risks of compromised welfare from capture, anesthesia, handling, sampling, marking, and sometimes selective removal. The interpretation of the protection of animals used for scientific purposes in Sweden is based on the EU Directive 2010/63/EU. The purpose of animal use, irrespective if the animal is suffering or not, decides the classification as a research animal, according to Swedish legislation. In Sweden, like in several other European countries, the legislation differs between research and management. Whereas, animal research is generally well-defined and covered in the legislation, wildlife management is not. The protection of wild animals differs depending on the procedure they are subjected to, and how they are classified. In contrast to wildlife management activities, research projects have to implement the 3Rs and must undergo ethical reviews and official animal welfare controls. It is often difficult to define the dividing line between the two categories, e.g., when marking for identification purposes. This gray area creates uncertainty and problems beyond animal welfare, e.g., in Sweden, information that has been collected during management without ethical approval should not be published. The legislation therefore needs to be harmonized. To ensure consistent ethical and welfare assessments for wild animals at the hands of humans, and for the benefit of science and management, we suggest that both research and management procedures are assessed by one single Animal Ethics Committee with expertise in the 3Rs, animal welfare, wildlife population health and One Health. We emphasize the need for increased and improved official animal welfare control, facilitated by compatible legislation and a similar ethical authorization process for all wild animal procedures.

Keywords

wildlife; research; management; animal welfare; 3R; legislation; ethical assessment

Published in

Frontiers in Veterinary Science
2019, volume: 6, article number: 13

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SCAW Nationellt centrum för djurvälfärd
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Environment and Health
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SCAW Nationellt centrum för djurvälfärd
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Environment and Health
Olsson, Johan N. G.
Jamtlands Cty Adm Board
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SCAW Nationellt centrum för djurvälfärd
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (AFB)

UKÄ Subject classification

Other Veterinary Science
Fish and Wildlife Management
Law and Society

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2019.00013

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/99543