What constitutes material alteration of behavior in wildlife studies?
An IACUC developed policies for reviewing wildlife studies. One policy stated that if a proposed activity caused more than momentary pain or distress, then the activity would be considered potentially harmful and/or invasive and IACUC review and approval would be required. The IACUC made a specific note in their policy exempting activities, in some circumstances, that used mist nets to capture birds and bats.
The Animal Welfare Act requires IACUC review and approval of any activity that involves an invasive procedure, harms, or materially alters the behavior of an animal.
Does capture of a wild animal always constitute material alteration of behavior? What potentially altered characteristics could IACUCs evaluate to determine what they consider to be “materially altered”? What other factors may need to be considered? Download the article and associated commentary from OLAW here to read more: Lab Animal 2022; Vol 51(07) (PDF).
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