A Declaration of Helsinki for animals

Vanessa Ashall*, David Morton, Eddie Clutton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: This article examines the ethical principles underlying the Declaration of Helsinki as an internationally agreed justificatory framework for human medical research. The aim of the analysis is to consider the potential usefulness of these principles for defining an internationally agreed ethical 'best practice' in clinical veterinary research (CVR). It is suggested that the specific ethical responsibilities of the clinician to protect the interests of their patient when conducting medical research may be translated into the veterinary setting. Through exploring risk and harm, unproven interventions, vulnerability and informed consent, the article identifies the ethical risks of CVR. It is shown that veterinary regulators in the UK and the European Union have addressed these concerns to varying degrees; however, disagreements over the appropriateness of specific CVR practices are identified. A commitment to collaborative exploration of the benefits and challenges of implementing a Declaration of Helsinki for Animals is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalVeterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 29 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust ( 219804/Z/19/Z ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)


  • animals
  • ethical best practice
  • harm
  • informed consent
  • risk
  • veterinary clinical research
  • veterinary ethics
  • vulnerability

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