Ethical Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Research

The editors will require that the benefits potentially derived from any research causing harm to animals are significant in relation to any cost endured by animals, and that procedures followed are unlikely to cause offense to the majority of readers. Authors should particularly ensure that their research complies with the commonly-accepted '3Rs' [1]:

  1. Replacement of animals by alternatives wherever possible,
  2. Reduction in number of animals used, and
  3. Refinement of experimental conditions and procedures to minimize the harm to animals.

Authors must include details on housing, husbandry and pain management in their manuscript.

For further guidance authors should refer to the Code of Practice for the Housing and Care of Animals Used in Scientific Procedures [2], American Association for Laboratory Animal Science [3] or European Animal Research Association [4].

If national legislation requires it, studies involving vertebrates or higher invertebrates must only be carried out after obtaining approval from the appropriate ethics committee. As a minimum, the project identification code, date of approval and name of the ethics committee or institutional review board should be stated in Section ‘Institutional Review Board Statement’. Research procedures must be carried out in accordance with national and institutional regulations. Statements on animal welfare should confirm that the study complied with all relevant legislation. Clinical studies involving animals and interventions outside of routine care require ethics committee oversight as per the American Veterinary Medical Association. If the study involved client-owned animals, informed client consent must be obtained and certified in the manuscript report of the research. Owners must be fully informed if there are any risks associated with the procedures and that the research will be published. If available, a high standard of veterinary care must be provided. Authors are responsible for correctness of the statements provided in the manuscript.

If ethical approval is not required by national laws, authors must provide an exemption from the ethics committee, if one is available. Where a study has been granted exemption, the name of the ethics committee that provided this should be stated in Section ‘Institutional Review Board Statement’ with a full explanation on why the ethical approval was not required.

If no animal ethics committee is available to review applications, authors should be aware that the ethics of their research will be evaluated by reviewers and editors. Authors should provide a statement justifying the work from an ethical perspective, using the same utilitarian framework that is used by ethics committees. Authors may be asked to provide this even if they have received ethical approval.

TMUJ endorses the ARRIVE guidelines (arriveguidelines.org/) for reporting experiments using live animals. Authors and reviewers must use the ARRIVE guidelines as a checklist, which can be found at https://arriveguidelines.org/sites/arrive/files/documents/ARRIVE%20Compliance%20Questionnaire.pdf. Editors reserve the right to ask for the checklist and to reject submissions that do not adhere to these guidelines, to reject submissions based on ethical or animal welfare concerns or if the procedure described does not appear to be justified by the value of the work presented.

  1. NSW Department of Primary Industries and Animal Research Review Panel. Three Rs. Available online: https://www.animalethics.org.au/three-rs
  2. Home Office. Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. Code of Practice for the Housing and Care of Animals Bred, Supplied or Used for Scientific Purposes. Available online: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/388535/CoPanimalsWeb.pdf
  3. American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. The Scientific Basis for Regulation of Animal Care and Use. Available online: https://www.aalas.org/about-aalas/position-papers/scientific-basis-for-regulation-of-animal-care-and-use
  4. European Animal Research Association. EU regulations on animal research. Available online: https://www.eara.eu/animal-research-law