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.

Publications

This poster explores the increase in popularity of the zebrafish in animal research in the UK, raising questions about how the species is incorporated into and transforms animal research infrastructures and practices of care and welfare.

Blog entry

Written by:

Reuben Message, Bentley Crudgington

The way we think about the welfare needs of animals is always conditioned by our prior experiences and preconceptions. This is especially true of fish.

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