A manuscript was submitted which described an intervention that partially corrected the results in stress injury in an animal model. Two reviewers drew attention to the fact that the stress model used in these experiments would not be ethically acceptable in the UK. The editor raised this with the senior author, who responded promptly stating that the work had already been presented at an international scientific meeting and that an ethical committee for experiments involving animals had approved the study. Documentation was subsequently provided supporting the statement. What should the editor do now?
_ Different countries have different standards but there should be a universality of procedures and editors should not encourage lower standards allowed elsewhere. _ The editor should obtain written evidence that ethical approval had been obtained locally and to determine whether this technique would be acceptable in the UK. _ The case raises the ethical issue of variable ethical guidelines for animal research in different countries.
Written evidence (in the local language) of ethical approval was provided, and this was confirmed to be correct by expert translation. The editor wrote to the UK Home Office for clarification of the status of this model in the UK who advised that a particular procedure such as that discussed in the paper would not be absolutely excluded, but the editor was reminded that at all times the minimum stress should always be applied to answer the research question raised.