In Brazil information about illegal hunting activities is rarely pursued because of a lack of legal mechanisms of confidentiality and professional secrecy that would assure legal rights to the researcher. Without such mechanisms, data collection on illegal hunting can be considered a felony or compliancy where the researcher can suffer the same legal penalties as the illegal hunters themselves. Such procedure is questionable on philosophical, legal and technical grounds. The biological sustainability of hunting - legal or illegal - can only be evaluated by research involving data collection. In order to solve this problem, biologists should have legal rights concerning confidentiality and professional secrecy in research on illegal hunting in Brazil. Lawyers, medical doctors and social scientists already have such legal protection in analogous situations.
ethics in research; legal rights; hunting pressure; biologists; illegal hunting