Field Investigations Investigations may involve the observation or use of nondomesticated vertebrate species under field conditions. Many field investigations require international, federal, state, and/or local permits, which may call for an evaluation of the scientific merit of the proposed study and a determination of the potential impact on the population or species to be studied.
Additionally, occupational health and safety issues, including zoonoses, should be reviewed by the institution’s health and safety committee or office, with assurances to the IACUC that the field study does not compromise the health and safety of either animals or persons in the field. Principal investigators conducting field research should be knowledgeable about relevant zoonotic diseases, associated safety issues, and any laws or regulations that apply. Exceptions to the above should be clearly defined and evaluated by the IACUC.
In preparing the design of a field study, investigators are encouraged to consult with relevant professional societies and available guidelines (see Appendix A). Veterinary input may be needed for projects involving capture, individual identification, sedation, anesthesia, surgery, recovery, holding, transportation, release, or euthanasia. Issues associated with these activities are similar if not identical to those for species maintained and used in the laboratory. When species are removed from the wild, the protocol should include plans for either a return to their habitat or their final disposition, as appropriate.
The Guide does not purport to be a compendium of all information regarding field biology and methods used in wildlife investigations, but the basic principles of humane care and use apply to animals living under natural conditions. IACUCs engaged in the review of field studies are encouraged to consult with a qualified wildlife biologist.
Agricultural Animals The use of agricultural animals in research is subject to the same ethical considerations as for other animals in research, although it is often categorized as either biomedical or agricultural because of government regulations and policies, institutional policies, administrative structure, funding sources, and/or user goals (Stricklin et al. 1990). This categorization has led to a dual system with different criteria for evaluating protocols and standards of housing and care for animals of the same species on the basis of stated biomedical or agricultural research objectives (Stricklin and Mench 1994). With some studies, differences in research goals may lead to a clear distinction between biomedical and agricultural research. For example, animal models of human diseases, organ transplantation, and major surgery are considered biomedical uses; and studies on food and fiber production, such as feeding trials, are usually considered agricultural uses. But when the distinction is unclear, as in the case of some nutrition and