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Research ethics and animal treatment

Articles will be accepted only if they are considered ethically sound in the judgement of the editor.

For experiments involving human subjects, the committee approving the experiments should be identified and the research conducted according to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki. The authors should confirm that informed consent was obtained from all subjects.

Authors should include details of animal welfare (such as species, number, gender, age, weight, housing conditions, welfare, training and the fate of the animals at the end of the experiment) and relevant details of steps taken to ameliorate suffering. These details should be included in the Methods section of the article. We strongly encourage all authors to comply with the 'Animal Research: Reporting In Vivo Experiments' (ARRIVE) guidelines. These have been developed by NC3Rs to improve standards of reporting to ensure that the data from animal experiments can be fully scrutinised and utilised. Relevant information should be included in the appropriate section of the article, as outlined in the ARRIVE guidelines.

Articles describing work with animals will be accepted only if the procedures used are clearly described and conform to the legal requirements of the country in which the work was carried out and to all institutional guidelines. A brief statement identifying the institutional and/or licensing committee approving the experiments must be included at the end of the article.

Any possible adverse consequences of the work for ecosystems, populations or individual organisms must be weighed against the possible gains in knowledge and its practical applications.

Research relating to animal behaviour and fieldwork studies must follow the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour / Animal Behavior Society Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Research (Animal Behaviour, 2006, 71, 245-253), the legal requirements of the country in which the work was carried out, and all institutional guidelines.

Referees are invited to express any ethical concerns regarding animal experimentation, human studies, conservation issues or potential risk of misuse or maltreatment of animals.