Updated Animal Ethics Policy 

We’ve recently updated our policy on animal research ethics for all the BES journals (Ecological Solutions and Evidence, Functional Ecology, Journal of Animal Ecology, Journal of Applied Ecology, Methods in Ecology and Evolution and People and Nature). We’ve made this update to ensure we’re in line with the most up to date thinking on animal ethics, and to ensure all our published articles are consistent in the reporting of how they adhered to ethical research practices.  

We understand that legislation and best practice differs from region to region, and, in order to help us make decisions on how to proceed in difficult cases, some of our Associate Editors from across the journals, who have expertise in various aspects of animal research ethics have agreed to advise as required.

The full policy is listed below, and on our Editorial Polices webpage.  

Animal research  

All research involving animals must have proper regard for conservation and animal welfare considerations. Researchers should refer to the PREPARE guidelines when planning animal experiments and the ARRIVE Guidelines when reporting on research.  

Studies that involve manipulation of animals in the field or the lab should comply with all relevant legislation and guidelines, and have the appropriate ethical approval. Details of how the work complied with ethical standards must be included in the methods section of the manuscript, including the name of the institution that approved the study and all relevant approval and licence numbers.   

We understand that procedures for granting ethics approval for animal research and research ethics standards differ across regions. If there is no local research ethics committee for your research, or if your study was exempt from requiring approval, or you can show that ethics approval was not required, you must describe how you ensured that your research met appropriate ethical standards in your methods section. This will be assessed by the journal editorial board. The final decision on whether to consider a submission lies with the journal Editors. Manuscripts may be rejected if the Editors consider that the ethical framework of the study is not sufficient, whether or not you have ethical approval. We may request documentary evidence of ethical approval. 

More details on good practice in the carrying out and reporting of research using animals can be found in the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour / Animal Behavior Society Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Research (Animal Behaviour, 2020, 159, I-XI).      

Adherence to this policy will be checked by the editorial office in consultation with journal Senior Editors and our animal ethics advisory group as required. 

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