Guidelines for Editors and Reviewers


1. Decisions regarding the welfare, care and use of animals should be guided by scientific knowledge and professional judgment, reflect ethical and social values, and consider the potential benefits and the impact on the well-being of the animals involved.

2.  ICLAS has concerns that some scientific methods, which are not considered ethically acceptable, are still being perpetuated by virtue of being previously published. Publication appears to confer ethical acceptability in the minds of some journal editors and this is not always correct.

3.  ICLAS believes that a statement of IACUC approval sometimes not sufficient to confirm humane science.  More information is required before an editor accepts the manuscript as meeting international best practice standards of humane science.

4.  The additional information required is provided in these guidelines.

ICLAS Ethical Guideline for Researchers

1. All animals have an intrinsic value, i.e. their welfare and wellbeing should be protected not because they have an instrumental value by religious, social, financial or any other standards, but because they have an intrinsic value.

2. When results are published which are based on animal experiments the following points should be included:

a.   Authors should provide a justification why the use of animals was essential and no alternative methods could be used in that specific case.

b.   This justification should include an ethical statement outlining how the harm-benefit analysis supported the use of animals in that specific case and if the harm-benefit analysis was reviewed and endorsed by third parties (e.g. animal welfare officer, institutional or governmental ethical committees).

c.   Authors should provide details on species, strain, health status, sex, age/weight and origin, husbandry and housing of the animals. This should include the exact number of animals used and include the statistical justification for that given number

d.    The distress inflicted on the animals before, during and after the actual experiment should be quantified, e.g. by using one of the existing severity classification systems or something similar. This screening and scoring system for assessment of the severity classification should be transparent

e.   Procedures causing unrelieved pain or distress should describe pre-defined humane endpoints and the pain management used.

f.     A statement should be made how the experiment was licensed or otherwise authorized according to the national regulation.

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