Question: Are your experiments cruel to animals due to them being involved and not having an option?


  1. The majority of the experiments I am involved with are observational – which means there is very little or no actual interaction with the animal itself. Under such circumstances although the animal doesn’t have an option, neither is it likely to be affected in any negative way.

    Historically I was involved with an experiment investigating the effects of an ultrasonic (above our hearing range) alarm. We were investigating whether these alarms could be used as possum deterrents. So while the experiments could have potentially caused stress in the animals we were testing, in the long term a broad range of possums may well have benefited from the research. The experiment was overseen by a wildlife carer, a veterinarian and myself, all aiming to get an answer to the question, while minimising any unnecessary stress to the animals involved. In the end the alarm was not effective and appeared to cause no stress to the possums at all.

    Not as part of my research, but more to do with wildlife management and rescue – I am sometimes required to capture or restrain animals such as possums or parrots. This however is done for their benefit, to prevent their injury or death. From an animal’s perspective I am sure this is stressful, however it is better than the alternative and often saves the animals life.

    Fortunately most universties/institutions have an ethics committee which approves experiments. These committees are always ensure cruelty and suffering not allowed or at worst kept to a minimum.