Measuring Behavior is a multidisciplinary conference, with participants from many different scientific backgrounds. A significant proportion of the delegates study the behavior of animals. Some of those studies are where the animals’ behavior is of interest in itself (e.g. behavioral ecology research or research in improving the welfare of farm animals). In other studies, the animal’s behavior acts as a model for human behaviors, for example in trying to understand diseases with a behavioral component such as autism or Alzheimer’s.
As a forum for improving the methods and techniques of behavioral research, the Measuring Behavior conference organization takes animal welfare seriously. The ethical aspects are of course crucial, but it is also fundamental to good science; the behavioral measurements do not make much sense if the animals being studied are stressed or unable to exhibit their normal range of behaviors.
The scientific program committee has therefore taken a number of steps to promote animal welfare through the MB conferences:
The usage of animals in biomedical research must be kept to a minimum and animal discomfort should be avoided as much as possible. The conference is committed to improving animal welfare, and we expect to make further improvements and take more initiatives in this area in the future.
1. Osborne NJ, Payne D & Newman M.L. (2009). Journal Editorial Policies, Animal Welfare and the 3Rs. The American Journal of Bioethics 9, 55-59.