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ILAR J. 2003;44(4):259-76.

Trapping and marking terrestrial mammals for research: integrating ethics, performance criteria, techniques, and common sense.

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Department of Zoology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA.


We propose that researchers integrate ethics, performance criteria, techniques, and common sense when developing research trapping programs and in which members of institutional animal care and use committees address these topics when evaluating research protocols. To ask questions about ethics is in the best tradition of science, and researchers must be familiar with codes of ethics and guidelines for research published by professional societies. Researchers should always work to improve research methods and to decrease the effects on research animals, if for no other reason than to minimize the chances that the methods influence the animals' behavior in ways that affect research results. Traps used in research should meet performance criteria that address state-of-the-art trapping technology and that optimize animal welfare conditions within the context of the research. The proposal includes the following criteria for traps used in research: As Criterion I, killing-traps should render >/= 70% of animals caught irreversibly unconscious in </= 3 min (calculated with 95% confidence). As Criterion II, live-traps should trap >/= 70% of animals with </= 50 points scored for physical injury (calculated with 95% confidence). The types of traps described include killing-traps (snap traps, rotating jaw traps, snares, pitfalls, and drowning sets), common sets, and the common types of live-traps (box and cage traps, pitfalls, foothold traps. snares, corrals and nets, and dart collars). Also described are trapping methods for specific mammals, according to which traps fulfill Criteria I and II for which species, and techniques for short-term, long-term, and permanent marking of mammals.

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