Prospective severity classification of scientific procedures in cephalopods: Report of a COST FA1301 Working Group survey

Gavan M. Cooke (Lead / Corresponding author), David B. Anderson, Marie-Laure Begout, Ngaire Dennison, Daniel Osorio, Belinda Tonkins, Tore Kristiansen, Graziano Fiorito, Viola Galligioni, Giovanna Ponte, Paul L. R. Andrews

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    Cephalopods are the first invertebrate class regulated by the European Union (EU) under Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, which requires prospective assessment of severity of procedures. To assist the scientific community in establishing severity classification for cephalopods, we undertook a web-based survey of the EU cephalopod research community as represented by the participants in the European COoperation on Science and Technology (COST) Action FA1301, CephsInAction'. The survey consisted of 50 scenarios covering a range of procedures involving several cephalopod species at different life stages. Respondents (59 people from 15 countries) either allocated a severity classification to each scenario or indicated that they were unable to decide (UTD). Analyses evaluated score distributions and clustering. Overall, the UTD scores were low (7.0 ± 0.6%) and did not affect the severity classification. Procedures involving paralarvae and killing methods (not specified in Annexe IV) had the highest UTD scores. Consensus on non-recovery procedures was reached consistently, although occasionally non-recovery appeared to be confused with killing methods. Scenarios describing procedures above the lower threshold for regulation, including those describing behavioural studies, were also identified and allocated throughout the full range of severity classifications. Severity classification for scenarios based on different species (e.g. cuttlefish vs. octopus) was consistent, comparable and dependent on potentially more harmful interventions. We found no marked or statistically significant differences in the overall scoring of scenarios between the demographic subgroups (age, sex, PhD and cephalopod experience). The COST Action FA1301 survey data provide a basis for a prospective severity classification for cephalopods to serve as guide for researchers, project assessors and regulators.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)541-563
    Number of pages23
    JournalLaboratory Animals
    Issue number6
    Early online date31 Aug 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


    • 3Rs
    • 63
    • Cephalopods
    • Directive 2010
    • EU
    • invertebrates
    • severity classification
    • Directive 2010/63/EU
    • cephalopods

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Veterinary
    • Animal Science and Zoology


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