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Ethics grant supports research to cut lab stress for pigeons

A project that aims to reduce laboratory testing of pigeons in behavioural psychology experiments has won a $50,000 research grant from a New Zealand animal ethics committee.

Damian Scarf, a psychology lecturer at the University of Otago, is developing a free-range system that will replace laboratory confinement of pigeons. It will allow the birds to display natural patterns of behaviour and eliminate the stress involved in using cages and Skinner boxes for experiments.

“I have had this idea in my mind for the past five years and it is great to get the support that will allow me to see it to fruition,” Scarf said in a university statement.

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