Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 717–718 | Cite as

The Gladiator Sparrow: Ethical issues in behavioral research on captive populations of wild animals

A case study with commentaries exploring ethical issues and research on wild animal populations
  • Brian SchragEmail author
  • Todd Freeberg
  • Lida Anestidou


This case involves invasive research on captive wild populations of birds to study aggressive animal behavior. The case and associated commentaries raise and examine fundamental issues: whether and under what conditions, such research is ethically justified when the research has no expected, direct application to the human species; the moral status of animals and how one balances concern for the animal’s interests against the value of gains in scientific knowledge. They also emphasize the issue of the importance of a thorough literature search to ensure appropriate research design and experimental design to minimize animal suffering. It raises the issue of circumstances in which such research should be modified or terminated.


Research on captive wild birds animal behavioral research animal research design moral status of animals terminating harmful research advisor supervision of research 

Copyright information

© Opragen Publications 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Association for Practical and Professional EthicsBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.University of TennesseeUSA
  3. 3.University of Texas Medical School at HoustonUSA

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