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Animal Research beyond the Laboratory: Report from a Workshop on Places Other than Licensed Establishments (POLEs) in the UK

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School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK
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School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
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National Wildlife Management Centre, Animal and Plant Health Agency, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LZ, UK
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PDSA Nottingham, Dunkirk Road, Nottingham NG7 2PH, UK
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Biological Services, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 5EH, UK
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Army Ornithological Society (AOS), Aldershot GU11 1PS, UK
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Centre for Applied Bioethics, School of Biosciences and School of Veterinary Medicine and Science (SVMS), University of Nottingham, Nottingham LE12 5PF, UK
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Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, The Recanati-Kaplan Centre, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX13 5QL, UK
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Wild Planet Trust, Paignton Zoo, Totnes Road, Paignton TQ4 7EU, UK
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School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
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Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, London NW1 0TU, UK
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College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4QD, UK
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School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7AL, UK
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1868; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101868
Received: 9 September 2020 / Revised: 6 October 2020 / Accepted: 9 October 2020 / Published: 13 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Experimentation: State of the Art and Future Scenarios)
Animal research conducted outside of the laboratory faces various unique challenges, but has received only limited attention in terms of official guidelines, support, and statistics. To improve understanding, we held a workshop bringing together experts familiar with a variety of nonlaboratory animal research contexts (e.g., wildlife field sites, farms, fisheries, veterinary clinics, zoos). We collectively identified five key areas that we propose require further discussion and attention, which we present in this paper. While the workshop focused on research in the UK, our conclusions may have implications for similar work overseas.
Research involving animals that occurs outside the laboratory raises an array of unique challenges. With regard to UK legislation, however, it receives only limited attention in terms of official guidelines, support, and statistics, which are unsurprisingly orientated towards the laboratory environment in which the majority of animal research takes place. In September 2019, four social scientists from the Animal Research Nexus program gathered together a group of 13 experts to discuss nonlaboratory research under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act (A(SP)A) of 1986 (mirroring European Union (EU) Directive 2010/63/EU), which is the primary mechanism for regulating animal research in the UK. Such nonlaboratory research under the A(SP)A often occurs at Places Other than Licensed Establishments (POLEs). The primary objective of the workshop was to assemble a diverse group with experience across a variety of POLEs (e.g., wildlife field sites, farms, fisheries, veterinary clinics, zoos) to explore the practical, ethical, and regulatory challenges of conducting research at POLEs. While consensus was not sought, nor reached on every point of discussion, we collectively identified five key areas that we propose require further discussion and attention. These relate to: (1) support and training; (2) ethical review; (3) cultures of care, particularly in nonregulated research outside of the laboratory; (4) the setting of boundaries; and (5) statistics and transparency. The workshop generated robust discussion and thereby highlighted the value of focusing on the unique challenges posed by POLEs, and the need for further opportunities for exchanging experiences and sharing best practice relating to research projects outside of the laboratory in the UK and elsewhere. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal research; animal welfare; farms; fisheries; governance; policy; veterinary medicine; wildlife; zoos animal research; animal welfare; farms; fisheries; governance; policy; veterinary medicine; wildlife; zoos
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Palmer, A.; Greenhough, B.; Hobson-West, P.; Message, R.; Aegerter, J.N.; Belshaw, Z.; Dennison, N.; Dickey, R.; Lane, J.; Lorimer, J.; Millar, K.; Newman, C.; Pullen, K.; Reynolds, S.J.; Wells, D.J.; Witt, M.J.; Wolfensohn, S. Animal Research beyond the Laboratory: Report from a Workshop on Places Other than Licensed Establishments (POLEs) in the UK. Animals 2020, 10, 1868.

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