Ethics for Animal Welfare, Veterinary Medicine, and Conservation
Journal of Applied Animal Ethics Research is an international and interdisciplinary scientific publication. It publishes the results of original peer-reviewed research, technical studies, and reviews that bring to the light the ethical issues involved in all dimensions of animal welfare, ranging from
applied contributions. Emphasis is placed on research that explores
practical ethical issues related to animal care and management in veterinary medicine, conservation, companion and laboratory animals, animals involved in agriculture, sport, applied ethology and welfare science. The journal also publishes papers that examine and discuss ethical frames, tools and methodologies applied to moral issues in the human/animal relationship.
Animal assisted interventions (AAI) have seen a significant development in the last fifty years. They are based on human-animal interactions, and some scientific research is beginning to provide evidence for the benefits of these interventions. However, ethical issues, particularly from the animals’ point of view, are yet to be considered properly. This article contextualizes AAI and the ethical issues concerning the animals involved. Then it outlines the potential adaptation of the Three Rs principle (replacement, reduction, refinement) to this field, considering all aspects related to animal behavior, health, and wellbeing. The analysis of the conditions for the application is accompanied by suggestions to guide research and general practice in AAI in favor of animal welfare, including assessment of the environmental conditions and competence of the professionals involved. Finally, a fourth R, Relationship, is proposed as the distinctive R for ethical AAI practice, possibly interpreted as cooperation.