Based at the School of Geography and the Environment, at the University of Oxford, Species and Spaces seeks to understand the challenges that different and unusual species and sites introduce into animal research, and what these challenges might mean for established infrastructures, practices, and cultures of animal care.

Our research is concentrating into two streams. ‘Species’ focuses mainly on fish, and especially the ongoing explosion in the use zebrafish in research over the last two decades, as well as the so-called ‘higher invertebrates’, cephalopods and crustaceans. ‘Spaces’ examines research at Places Other Than Licensed Establishments (POLES), such as wildlife field projects, fisheries, farms, zoos, and veterinary clinics.

A number of broad questions guide our work: How do human-animal relationships influence the implementation of animal welfare regulations? How does the introduction and spread of different species and sites transform practices of ethical review, the 3Rs, animal care, and public engagement? How are the borders between regulated and unregulated research shaped by ideas about animal sentience and suffering, the ethics applied to different categories of animals (e.g., pets, wildlife, and farm animals), and definitions of science, veterinary treatment, and animal management?

We are approaching these questions using a combination of methods including documentary analyses, in-depth interviews with stakeholders (e.g. researchers, regulators, animal technicians, Named Persons, suppliers, regulators, and welfare charities), and participant observation in different settings in industry and university sectors.

A list of site content that is tagged as Species & Spaces – grouped by type of content.

Blog entry

Written by:

Ally Palmer

Can animals volunteer to participate in research? If so, what does volunteering look like, and what does it mean for animal welfare?

Written by:

Beth Greenhough, Reuben Message, Ally Palmer, Bentley Crudgington

In the Species and Spaces project, we’re exploring people’s perceptions around fish use, sentience, and how these shape and define assumptions around their welfare requirements.

Written by:

Reuben Message

"How different does a fish really feel from one day to the next?" Zebrafish larvae become protected animals at the age of 5 days post fertilisation. At 4 days, they are not. Why is this?

“Vintage File Cabinet” by victoriabernal is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr
Written by:

Sara Peres

Our approach to research emphasises cross-project collaborations and transdisciplinary thinking. But what does this mean, in practical terms, for the work that we do and for our participants?

Written by:

Rich Gorman

In July 2018 several members of the Animal Research Nexus team were invited to an exciting workshop at the University of Nottingham.

Events

Do fish feel pain? Are they sentient? What makes a fish happy? Come and find out how you really feel about with the Nexus psychic fish!

Do fish feel pain? Are they sentient? What makes a fish happy? Come and find out how you really feel about with the Nexus psychic fish!

On the 29th of November 2018, Animal Research Nexus team members helped to organise an event on the standardisation of welfare terminology.

Publications

This paper draws on ethnographic work with laboratory animal technologists to offer insights into the skills required to study human–animal relations and the role played by storytelling in negotiating the contested moral economies of animal research.

Announcements

We are delighted to announce that Ally Palmer joined the Animal Research Nexus team based at Oxford University from July 2018. Ally will be working on the practices of ethics and oversight when research is carried out in POLES - or places other than licenced establishments.

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