The approach demonstrated in this paper reflects exactly why animal care committees were created to provide oversight on research methods and to avoid research being conducted and published that clearly fails to meet even minimum ethical standards. This research and publication represents the systematic moral failure of the Alberta government, participating universities, the Canadian Journal of Zoology, and individual scientists who carried out the study.
How did this study ever get approved and conducted?
Of course, the main question at hand is, "How did this study ever get approved and conducted?" This question must be aired and discussed openly and widely. One colleague asked me, "How can these researchers sleep at night?" Frankly, I have no idea. I also pondered why a study like this can be approved, conducted, and published in a peer-reviewed journal, yet people get furious, as they should, when a dog is shot, trapped, or poisoned.
I was sickened when I learned about this so-called study, and remain incredulous that it was conducted. Simply put, this reprehensible study sets an unethical, inhumane, and horrific precedent that must be universally opposed.