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Standards of Evidence and Scientific Integrity

Treves, A., Krofel M, Ohrens O and van Eeden 2019. Predator Control Needs a Standard of Unbiased Randomized Experiments With Cross-Over Design. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 7:462. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2019.00462

Standards of Evidence in Wild Animal Research

Read the full report prepared for the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Policy & Law, published online 30 June 2019, and continually evolving as we experiment and learn more >Or read the abstract below


This document is designed as a list of principles and expectations for gold standard research on wild animals. It is intended for those funders, scientists, peer reviewers, editors, publishers, or reporters who are supporting, conducting, reviewing, or communicating research to any audience. Stated simply, gold standard research aims for the strongest inference conducted with the highest standards of evidence and scientific integrity.

Second, consider the gold standard for strength of inference.

Third, consider potential biases (intentionally or unintentionally slanting evidence to favor or disfavor one hypothesis or treatment) especially when it favors the scientist’s preferred result.

Recommended citation: “Treves, A. (2019) Standards of evidence in wild animal research. Report for the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Policy & Law. 30 June 2019, available at"

Scientific articles addressing standards of evidence and scientific integrity

Treves, A., Santiago-Ávila, F., Lynn, W.S. (equal co-authors) 2018. Just Preservation. Biological Conservation 229: 134-141. Soon to be reprinted with a foreword and reader commentary in Animal Sentience in 2019. Our most detailed examination of anthropocentrism and non-anthropocentrism in conservation science and practice, with a recommendation on legal mechanisms for equilibrating human and nonhuman interests in courts.

Treves, A., 2019. Peer review of the proposed rule and draft biological report for nationwide wolf delisting, ed. U.S.F.W.S. Department of Interior. Department of Interior, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C. full peer reviews here. This lengthy critique of the US federal government's 2019 proposed rule, to remove Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves nationwide, includes several passages that address standards of evidence in animal research, recommending that the government should sift and winnow evidence based on accepted scientific standards including strength of inference, independent review, and debate among scientists, before treating all published studies as equivalent during the policy process.

van Eeden, L., Eklund, A., Miller, J.R.B.,...17 co-authors... Treves, A. (equal first authors) 2018. Carnivore conservation needs evidence-based livestock protection. PLOS Biology

Treves, A., Artelle, K.A., Paquet, P.C. 2018. Differentiating between regulations and hunting as conservation interventions. Conservation Biology (Accepted articles are posted online prior to type-setting and publication in print.).

Treves, A., K. A. Artelle, C. T. Darimont, W. S. Lynn, P. C. Paquet, F. J. Santiago-Avila, R. Shaw and M. C. Wood 018. Intergenerational equity can help to prevent climate change and extinction. Nature Ecology & Evolution DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0465-y. Supporting Data.

Artelle, K.A., Reynolds, J.D., Treves, A. Walsh, J.C., Paquet, P.C., Darimont, C.T. 2018. Hallmarks of science missing from North American wildlife management. Science Advances. 2018.

short video explaining the findings

Lopez-Bao, J.V., Chapron, G., Treves, A. 2017. The Achilles heel of participatory conservation. Biological Conservation 212: 139-143.

Treves, A., Artelle, K.A., Darimont, C.T., Parsons, D.R. 2017. (3.8 Mb) Mismeasured mortality: correcting estimates of wolf poaching in the United States. Journal of Mammalogy 98(3): open access at DOI:

Darimont, C.T., Paquet, P., Treves, A., Artelle, K.A., Chapron, G. 2018. Political populations of large carnivores.Conservation Biology 32(3):747-749.

Carroll, C., B. Hartl, G.T. Goldman, D.J. Rohlf, A. Treves, J.T. Kerr, E.G. Ritchie, R.T. Kingsford, K.E. Gibbs, M. Maron, J.E.M Watson. 2017. Defending scientific integrity in conservation policy processes: lessons from Canada, Australia, and the United States. Conservation Biology DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12958

Treves, A., Krofel, M., McManus, J. (equal co-authors).2016. Predator control should not be a shot in the dark. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment14: 380-388.

Treves, A., Chapron, G., Lopez-Bao, J.V., Shoemaker, S., Goeckner, A., Bruskotter, J.T. 2015. Predators and the Public Trust. Biological Reviews doi: 10.1111/brv.12227