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Companion Animals in Zoonoses Research – Ethical Considerations

Lookup NU author(s): Mx Jan Deckers



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Non-human animals are commonly classified according to their "role", such as "livestock", "wild" or "companion" animals. But what if those classifications overlap? This article presents a report of the retreat week "ZooCan – Zoonoses of companion animals as case study for animal ethics" at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany, in November 2022. The workshop included participants from different European countries with interdisciplinary backgrounds (animal law, bioethics, epidemiology, philosophy, biology and veterinary medicine). We address ethically relevant issues that emerge when companion animals are used as research animals, particularly in zoonoses research. The outcomes of the multi-disciplinary approach are used to i) define criteria to classify "companion" and "research" animals, ii) provide guidance to overcome the challenges with classificational overlaps, iii) give insights into cutting-edge zoonoses research with an example of SARS-CoV-2 in cats, and iv) discuss animal ethics approaches with regard to classifications.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Persson K, Schulz C, Deckers J, Pilchová V, Wirz K, Hartnack S, Meurer M, Richter A, Wystub P, van Herten J, von Köckritz-Blickwede M, Fossati P, Kunzmann P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Applied Animal Ethics Research

Year: 2023

Volume: 5

Issue: 2

Pages: 178-207

Print publication date: 01/12/2023

Online publication date: 30/11/2023

Acceptance date: 05/11/2023

Date deposited: 30/11/2023

ISSN (print): 2588-9559

ISSN (electronic): 2588-9567

Publisher: Brill


DOI: 10.1163/25889567-bja10045

Notes: Special Issue: Ethics of Zoonosis in Companion Animals, edited by Peter Kunzmann and Kirsten Persson


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