CCAC training module on: guidelines, legislation and regulations
Table of Contents
The first written standards for the care and use of experimental animals in Canada were developed in 1961 by a committee of the Canadian Federation of Biological Societies - Guiding Principles on the Care of Experimental Animals.
A few years later the Medical Research Council and the National Research Council undertook a study to look at the question of how national standards for experimental animal care and use should be implemented. The report came back recommending that the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) be established, to provide guidance for all aspects of the care and use of experimental animals.
The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) was founded in 1968 as a standing committee of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. Following the recommendations in the report, Canada opted for a peer review system based on guidelines. The system was selected to draw on the strengths of many organizations to reach its goals. The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies was included from the outset as a representative of the animal welfare movement in Canada. In this system, the CCAC pioneered the establishment of local animal care committees responsible for the ethical use of animals at their institutions. There are now more than 220 Animal Care Committees (ACCs) across Canada.
Since 1968, the CCAC program has brought about high standards for experimental animal care and use through education, voluntary compliance and a code of ethics. General and specific guidelines have been written, revised and expanded in response to changes in scientific and ethical attitudes to the use of animals in research, teaching and testing. Such "living" documents as the standards for the CCAC program have been a model for exemplary animal care and use throughout the world, and have been emulated in several countries.
Dr Harry Rowsell was commissioned by MRC and NRC to develop a proposal for a national program for laboratory animal care standards in Canada. He became the first Executive Director of the new Canadian Council on Animal Care, a position he held for 25 years. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for his incalculable contribution to the establishment of ethically based animal research spearheaded by CCAC.
You will be presented with a number of questions that should provide you with an indication of the scope of this module. They are not part of your evaluation, but are intended to raise some of the issues that we will be presenting in this module.
Which of the following research animals come under the CCAC guidelines?
Which of the following groups are represented on the Council?
- Granting agencies
- Humane societies
- Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
- Pharmaceutical industry
- Animal care technicians
Which of the following should normally be represented on an Animal Care Committee to ensure that the well-being of the animals is fully considered?
- Institutional members who do not use animals
- Community members
- Animal facility managers
In reviewing a protocol for the use of animals in a research project, which of the following should be considered?
- The overall objectives of the research
- The numbers of animals to be used
- The procedures to be carried out on each animal
- Steps to control pain or discomfort during the study
- The facilities where the animals are kept
- The source of the animals
- What is the Canadian Council on Animal Care?
The purpose of the Canadian Council on Animal Care is to act in the interests of the people of Canada to ensure through programs of education, assessment and guidelines development that the use of animals, where necessary, for research, teaching and testing employs optimal physical and psychological care according to acceptable scientific standards, and to promote an increased level of knowledge, awareness and sensitivity to relevant ethical principles.
The "council" is the governing body of the CCAC. It consists of representatives of a wide range of national organizations with an interest in the care and use of animals in research, teaching and testing.
- Federal Granting Agencies
- Federal Government Departments / Agencies Using Animals or Supporting Animal-Based Research
- National Voluntary Health Organisations
- Institutionally-based National Academic Associations
- National Scientific and Academic Associations
- National Organisations Representing Pharmaceutical Companies
- National Organisations Representing Animal Welfare and Animal Care
Supporting the work of the Council are five standing committees, with additional experts that serve on specific committees (e.g., ad hoc subcommittees are established when new guidelines are being developed or old ones revised).
The Council is supported by a secretariat (an office staff) in Ottawa, which coordinates the many aspects of the national program of standards for the care and use of experimental animals.
At the inaugural meeting on January 30, 1968, the CCAC adopted the following statement of objective: "to develop guiding principles for the care of experimental animals in Canada, and to work for their effective application". These guiding principles contain the fundamental requirements for humane and ethical use of animals in research, teaching and testing in Canada.
To carry out its mandate, the CCAC adopted a decentralised model in which responsibility for all matters relating to the care and welfare of experimental animals resides within the institution - through the animal care committee. The CCAC provides the national standards through the various guidelines, and through its Assessment and Certification Program, evaluates the work of the animal care committees and monitors compliance with the national standards. It is essential that the institution be committed to the CCAC standards for physical infrastructure, animal care and protocol review. These aspects of the CCAC program are discussed in more detail in following sections.
- Guidelines of the CCAC
Since the first Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals was published in 1968, the guidelines of the CCAC have steadily evolved in response to new information or requirements that address new research or ethical needs.
The most recent general guidelines document is the Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals Volume 1, 2nd Edition. All guidelines are available in French and English, and the second edition of Volume 1 and the guidelines on choosing an appropriate endpoint are also available in Spanish.
It became clear during the 1990s that there was a need for more specific guidelines in certain areas, and so the CCAC embarked on a program to publish individual guidelines on selected topics. The development of these specific guidelines involves the establishment of small ad hoc subcommittees to draft the guideline document. Once a draft is ready, there is widespread consultation throughout Canada to achieve a consensus on the information in the guideline. For example, new guidelines are posted on the CCAC website in draft form to allow people to comment on them. Thus as many people as possible are encouraged to participate in the development of guidelines.
In addition to the guidelines, the CCAC also publishes policy statements on a number of issues of interest and concern, which help everyone involved carry out his/her responsibilities to conduct animal based studies with scientific validity and with high ethical standards.
- The Institutional Animal Care Committee
The Animal Care Committee (ACC) in each institution has a number of responsibilities relating to the care and use of animals in research, testing and teaching. These responsibilities are detailed in the CCAC publication entitled Terms of Reference for Animal Care Committees.
The following is an overview of the major responsibilities of an Animal Care Committee. However it is recommended that research personnel review the full document.
Review and approval of all proposals to use animals
The ACC must ensure that every proposal to use animals for teaching, testing or research has been reviewed both for scientific merit (see the CCAC Policy on the Importance of Independent Peer Review of the Scientific Merit of Animal-Based Research Projects (2000) ) and for compliance with accepted ethical standards (see CCAC policy statement on: ethics of animal investigation (1989)). Each protocol must be the subject of an annual review, and any amendments reviewed and approved.
As defined in the CCAC Terms of Reference for Animal Care Committees, the ACC must have the authority to halt any study that deviates from the approved protocol or where the animals are found to be suffering excessive pain or distress that cannot be relieved. In the latter case, an animal may be euthanized if the pain or distress cannot be relieved in any other way. Usually the veterinary staff is given this authority on behalf of the ACC.
Ensuring standards for animal facilities and care
The ACC must ensure that adequate veterinary care is provided, and that appropriate procedures are in place to ensure that unnecessary pain and suffering do not occur.
Prévenir et soulager la douleur et la détresse ainsi que veiller à l'administration de soins vétérinaires adéquats
The ACC must ensure that facility standards and the care of the animals are in accordance with the CCAC Guidelines, and that a qualified person has been clearly designated to be responsible for the day-to-day facility management and animal care.
Ensuring the training and skills of all persons working with animals used in science
The ACC must implement a program to ensure that all persons working with animals receive practical skills training, in accordance with the CCAC guidelines.
Membership of the ACC
To ensure that the well-being of the animals is fully considered, the ACC needs to have a membership with a broad representation of interests and expertise. This broad representation is reflected in the membership requirements found in the CCAC Terms of Reference for Animal Care Committees. A properly constituted ACC must have:
- Scientists and /or teachers experienced in animal care and use
- Veterinarian(s) experienced in animal care and use
- An institutional member whose normal activities do not involve animals
- At least one person representing community interests and concerns who does not have any links with the institution or with animal use for research, teaching or testing.
- Technical staff involved in animal care and use
- Student representation in academic institutions
- Animal facility managers
An Animal Care Committee Meeting
The number of people from each category will depend on the size of the institution and its animal use program. The ACC must have active support from the administration of the institution, including adequate office and secretarial support to fulfill all its responsibilities both to the institution and to the CCAC. Documenting all ACC actions and activities is very important.
Reporting to the Canadian Council on Animal Care
The ACC is required to maintain certain documentation regarding the animal care and use at the institution, and must provide the CCAC with annual reports of animal use, and other specific information prior to a full CCAC assessment. Animal users can greatly facilitate this important process by providing their animal use numbers promptly when requested to do so.
- Protocol Review
The review of proposed animal use before it begins is one of the fundamental pillars of the CCAC program and it is the most important responsibility of the ACC. The CCAC has a number of documents and guidelines that assist the ACC in fulfilling this important responsibility. The following two CCAC documents should be read as part of this module: Terms of Reference for Animal Care Committees; and CCAC guidelines on: animal use protocol review.
Before a request to use animals in research, teaching or testing can be approved, the protocol reviewers should be able to satisfactorily answer a series of questions such as:
Do you understand why the study should be done?
The scientist proposing the animal use should have explained, in language easily understood by every one of the reviewers, including the non-scientific members, the potential benefits, for people or animals, arising from the study.
Are you convinced that animals must be used?
The scientist proposing the animal use should have convincing arguments that there is no other way to obtain the information being sought in the study.
Has the proposal been independently reviewed for scientific merit?
If this has not been done, the ACC must take steps to ensure that a peer review for scientific merit is undertaken. Approval to use animals requires that the use is ethically acceptable and scientifically meritorious.
Has the concept of the Three-Rs been addressed?
The scientist proposing the study or teaching use of animals must indicate the steps taken to refine procedures and to reduce or replace animals in the study.
Has the choice of animal species and model, and the number of animals requested been justified?
Not all species are suitable for all studies. The number of animals requested should fit the proposed experimental design. Are there too many animals or perhaps not enough? (Statistical justification should be provided.)
Do you understand exactly what will be done to each animal and in what sequence?
The description of the procedures should be clearly written in understandable language. For example, volumes of injections or samplings, and their frequency should be presented in the written protocol, along with a plan for animal monitoring.
Are you comfortable that the expertise of the people carrying out the procedures is optimal?
Will additional training or help be required to carry out the project?
Are the facilities for performing the study suitable?
Are the facilities appropriate for housing the species proposed? Will there be environmental enrichment for the animals? Are surgical facilities available? What about suitable anesthetic equipment?
Have the signs of pain, stress or distress been described?
Are there measures to relieve these signs, including euthanasia? Humane endpoints should be identified, particularly when it is known that pain and distress are likely to occur, but also when there is the possibility of inadvertent animal injury or pain and/or distress.
Will euthanasia be carried out in an appropriate, approved manner?
Do the people involved have the necessary skills to perform euthanasia?
The questions should provide a sense of the role that members of an ACC have in evaluating the acceptability of a proposal to use animals in research, teaching or testing.
Although members of the ACC must be able to easily understand all parts of an animal use protocol, there are two sections of the protocol form that commonly present problems for reviewers - the lay summary of the study, and the proposed numbers of animals to be used. These warrant a little further explanation.
The lay summary of the proposed animal use is that part of the form that requires the investigator to describe in simple terms why the study needs to be carried out. In this section the principal investigator is required to tell the ACC how the study fits into a broader context, often a problem of human or animal health. Even basic studies can be explained within a larger context. Although some scientific language may be used, it should be possible for the principal investigator to avoid technical terms, abbreviations and acronyms and provide a simple explanation.
The following is an example of a lay summary written in scientific/technical jargon, followed by a more understandable description of the same project.
- An assessment of the value of a vegetable oil organic emulsion on the gustatory features of laminates of heat processed yeast-grain combinations, nitrated jambon, and bacterially processed lactogenic products.
- Does mayo improve the taste of ham and cheese sandwiches?
Many nerve cells that initially survive a stroke, die a few days later, when the situation is stable. The reason for this late vulnerability lies partly in the interaction of these surviving nerve cells with their surrounding supporting cells. These supporting cells make up one half of the brain volume. After a stroke they become even more numerous and they form a brain scar tissue in and around the lesion that is caused by the stroke. Some of the supporting cells are scavenger cells that seem to aggregate around surviving nerve cells and to exert damage via neurotoxins. In addition, surviving nerve cells try to re-establish connections with other nerve cells that were interrupted by the stroke. They have elongations that grow through the scar tissue region in search of another viable nerve cell. Scar cells repel these elongations and after a fruitless search for another neuron, these nerve cells simply give up and initiate the "suicide" program. However, some cells of the scar tissue have also a positive effect. They release substances that help nerve cells to survive stress and damage. Our research uses a rat model with which the beneficial properties of this tissue can be used to help nerve cells to survive and to suppress the negative aspects of the scar tissue.
This is an actual lay summary from a research protocol submitted to an ACC. It is used here with permission.
A second problem is the justification of the number of animals requested for the study. The ACC must be able to understand the experimental design, and the reasons for the number of animals required for different components of the study. If the information is not adequate, the ACC will usually request further information, resulting in a delay in the review process. Although the ACC is concerned that excessive numbers of animals not be used, it is also concerned with too few animals being used so that the results may not be interpretable, resulting in the need to carry out additional studies.
- Animal Facility Visits by the ACC
Inspecting all animal facilities at least once each year is an important responsibility of the ACC. These inspections ensure that animal care or facility problems are identified and resolved. The ACC's facility inspection reports are reviewed by the CCAC assessment panels when they visit the institution, and this review allows an assessment panel to target problem areas. This approach enables the CCAC to provide positive feedback and support to an institution while maintaining institutional responsibility for quality control of its animal care and use program.
Developing and Approving Standardized Procedures (SOPs)
Written Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are common in many work areas. This is an excellent mechanism for ensuring that work procedures are consistently done regardless of who performs the work. Within animal facilities the implementation of approved SOPs for the care and use of experimental animals and for facililty management helps ensure that the treatment of animals in all phases of research, teaching and testing is of a high standard.
For animal care or use procedures that are essentially the same from one facility to another throughout the institution, the ACC may develop and approve SOPs for those procedures. SOPs that are specific to a research program (e.g., procedures involved in the production of transgenic mice) may be developed by the research team and submitted to the ACC for approval.
A major advantage of approved SOPs is that they may be quoted within a protocol submission as an indication to the ACC that the procedures will be carried out in an approved manner. Properly written, approved SOPs provide an easily understood outline of what exactly will be happening to an animal in a research protocol, thereby assisting the ACC in its review of the protocol, and reducing the work required by protocol authors.
The Role of the Principal Investigator in Ensuring Responsible Experimental Animal Care and Use
Each individual involved in a project using animals is responsible for the well-being of the animals. The principal investigator has the added responsibility of fostering a responsible caring attitude towards the animals in the conduct of the research. This extends to all aspects of the project so that at the end of the day, no animal derived data has to be discarded because of lack of care or foresight. This principle should also govern the actions of all the members of the research team. The principal investigator must ensure that the team is following his/her example.
- The CCAC Assessment and Certification Program
The CCAC assessments serve as the quality assurance program for the institution's Animal Care Committee (ACC) and all aspects of an institution's animal care and use program. It is the primary means whereby the CCAC receives assurance that the national standards - the CCAC guidelines and policies - are being met. The Assessment and Certification Program is a peer review system, with collaboration among the CCAC, the assessment panel and the institution, to ensure that animals being used in research, teaching and testing are receiving exemplary care.
Two types of assessment may occur: a formal, announced full assessment of an institution's animal care and use program, and unannounced or other special visits (usually by a CCAC Assessments Director) to deal with specific areas of concern that need to be resolved.
Institutions are formally assessed every three years. Institutions found to be in full Compliance for two successive full assessments may be placed on a five-year cycle by the CCAC Standing Committee on Assessments. Special visits may occur at any time and at any frequency required by the CCAC to ensure that the level of animal care and use meets its standards.
The CCAC Assessment Panel
The members of an assessment panel are selected based on their expertise in animal care and use and in the areas of research and teaching taking place at the institution. An assessment panel is usually composed of a veterinarian, at least one scientist, and a community representative nominated by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. These assessment panel members provide their time voluntarily; only their expenses are covered by the CCAC budget.
The CCAC Assessment Process
When a formal assessment is due, the institution is asked to provide each panel member with all the required information about the administrative organization, animal care personnel, veterinary care program, animal care and use practices, and the animal facilities.
This documentation allows the panels to develop a clear idea of the functioning of all aspects of the animal care and use program at the institution and permits more focused probing of areas of concern.
The Site Visit
When an assessment panel arrives at an institution, there is usually a meeting with the ACC, senior representatives of the administration, animal users and care-givers. During this meeting the panel explores various aspects of the animal care and use program and clarifies any areas of concern identified in the pre-assessment documentation. Broadly, the assessment panel reviews five program areas:
- Functioning of the ACC
- Animal holding facilities
- Animal care and management practice
- Veterinary care program
- Continuing education and training
In any of these five areas, any recurring deficiencies might be symptoms of a problem that needs to be identified and resolved.
Following the initial meeting, all locations at the institution where animals are held and used are visited. Usually a senior technician working in the area and one or more of the scientists will accompany the panel. The panel may ask to speak with individual scientists regarding their studies, and must be given access to any protocol or SOP of interest.
An assessment panel at work
Once the site visit is completed, the panel meets to formulate the recommendations that will be made to the institution (usually to the senior administrator responsible for the animal care and use program), particularly those of a major or serious nature. At this final meeting, the Chair of the panel will present any recommendations to be made. This is an important meeting in that it should allow the panel to clarify any possible misapprehensions gained through the pre-assessment documentation or during the site visits.
Follow this link for CCAC policy statement on: assessment panels (1999).
The Assessment Report
The final wording and recommendations contained in the assessment report are prepared at the CCAC secretariat, then sent to the assessment panel and the CCAC Assessment and Certification Committee for final review and approval. On its recommendation, the report is sent to the institution. The report is a confidential document to the institution. However the institution may choose to release all or part of it following written notification to the CCAC.
The assessment report usually contains recommendations to which the institution must respond within a specified time period. Serious or Major recommendations relate to situations that impose an immediate threat to the well being of the animals, and these problems must be corrected within a short time frame (some may need immediate correction and others within three months of receiving the report). Regular recommendations point to things that may not pose an immediate threat to the animals but need to be corrected in due course and not left to deteriorate (e.g., facility maintenance). A plan for the correction of these problems must be submitted within six months of receiving the Assessment Report. See the CCAC policy statement on: recommendations made in CCAC assessment reports.
Commendatory recommendations are given in recognition of excellent components of the animal care and use program.The Follow-Up
When an institution submits its Implementation Report, it is reviewed by this same Assessment and Certification Committee and assessment panel. If the report is acceptable, the institution will be assigned a status of "Compliance" or "Conditional Compliance" and given a certificate of Good Animal Practice®. If all or part of an Implementation report are not accepted, further action is taken.Compliance and Non-compliance
The CCAC policy statement on: certification of animal care and use programs defines four statuses that can be assigned to an institution: Compliance; Conditional Compliance; Probation, and Non-compliance.
The most serious situation would occur when an institution is placed in a status of "Non-compliance". If no timely resolution of the situation is found, the CCAC policy states that the granting agencies will be notified, and the granting agencies in turn have agreed to withdraw research funding from the non-compliant institution. See the CCAC policy statement on: certification of animal care and use programs. See also the Memorandum of Understanding on the Roles and Responsibilities in the Management of Federal Grants and Awards (MOU) Schedule 3: Ethical Review of Research Involving Animals.
Legislation in Canada Related to Experimental Animals
Federal Legislation and Regulations
A legal opinion commissioned by the CCAC in 1998, Legislative Jurisdiction over Animals Used in Research, Teaching and Testing and an independent study commissioned by Health Canada in 2000, The Protection of Animals Used for the Purpose of Xenotransplantation in Canada, both reach the conclusion that under the Constitution Act 1867, the federal government does not have jurisdiction to legislate with respect to experiments involving animals as this is a provincial jurisdiction. However, the federal government is not totally absent from the field of animal welfare. The three areas in which the federal government has taken action are under the criminal law power, the health power and the spending power.
The Criminal Code of Canada
Section 446 and 447 of the Criminal Code protect animals from cruelty, abuse and neglect. This section of the Criminal Code has been under review for several years.
The Health of Animals Act
The Health of Animals Act (1990) and its regulations are aimed primarily at protecting Canadian livestock from a variety of infectious diseases that would threaten both the health of the animals and people, and Canadian trade in livestock with other countries. This act is used both to deal with named disease outbreaks in Canada, and to prevent the entry of unacceptable diseases that do not exist in Canada.
The Spending Power
The other mechanism through which the federal government has lent its support to the humane treatment of animals is not strictly speaking legislative in nature, but in many respects it is one of the most powerful instruments available to the federal government for setting national standards. The federal government's power to provide for grants subject to conditions imposed on the recipients, be they provincial governments or individual or corporate recipients, may take a variety of different forms. One form is that of the conditional federal grant or contract. This manifestation of the federal power is what currently underpins the imposition of CCAC standards on facilities receiving funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Where the government itself awards a contract on an academic or non-academic institution, clause A9015C of Public Works Standard Acquisition Clauses and Conditions Manual imposes conditions related to the care and use of experimental animals in public works and government services.
Provincial Legislation and Regulations
While all of the provinces have legislated in the area of animal welfare in some form or another, only certain provinces have specifically occupied the field of animals acquired and used for research, teaching and testing purposes. These are Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
One of the general concerns about the "voluntary" nature of the national CCAC program has been that some private and provincial government units have not subscribed to the CCAC program, and thus may not have external assessment of the care and use of animals. Many private and provincial government units have embraced the CCAC program, recognizing the scientific and public relations benefits that a monitored animal care and use program brings. In an attempt to provide a more universal oversight of animals in research, six of the seven provinces listed above amended the regulations to their respective legislation to make reference to CCAC standards.
Click on the province's name for information on provincial legislation.
The revised Alberta Animal Protection Act (APA) was proclaimed in January 2006. Previously in Alberta, only academic institutions were subject to provincial regulations referencing CCAC standards, as these standards were referenced exclusively in the Alberta Universities Act. In 2005, the Universities Act and two other legislations were reviewed by the Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Ministry (AAFRD), with the aim of combining them and updating their content. As a result of discussions between the CCAC and the AAFRD, article 2(1) of the Animal Protection Regulations of the revised APA now states that "a person who owns or has custody, care or control of an animal for research activities must comply with the following Canadian Council on Animal Care documents", and lists all 22 CCAC standards, including the CCAC Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals and the various guidelines and policies published by the CCAC. View the Alberta Act and its regulations
In Prince Edward Island, the Animal Protection Regulations made under the Animal Health and Protection Act provide that the conditions governing the care of animals used for medical or scientific research shall be those contained in Volumes 1 and 2 of the Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals published by the CCAC. These regulations accordingly extend the application of the general principles set out in the Guide to all institutions that use animals for research in the province. As a result, it extends the control system developed by the CCAC to all such institutions. View Prince Edward Island Animal Health and Protection Act
Under the Animal Care Act of the province of Manitoba, no one may cause suffering to an animal. However, this prohibition does not apply to the "accepted activities" listed in the Act as long as these activities are carried out in accordance with a standard or code of conduct, criteria, practice or procedure specified as acceptable in the regulations. The use of animals for research and teaching is an accepted activity within the meaning of the Act. Furthermore, according to the Animal Care Regulations, Volumes 1 and 2 of the Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals as well as the CCAC policy statements and guidelines impose standards, criteria, practices or procedures that are classified as acceptable for the purposes of the Act. As a result, all institutions that use animals for research and teaching purposes in Manitoba must submit to the control system put in place by the CCAC. Failing this, any suffering caused to an animal in a research or teaching program constitutes an offence under the Act. Moreover, the Animal Care Regulations require that animals reared or used for research or teaching be kept in accordance with the CCAC policy statements and guidelines. As a result of this obligation, the CCAC's system of control covers the breeders of experimental animals operating in Manitoba.
The situation in New Brunswick is unique. The law governs the use of animals for experimental and other scientific purposes only indirectly. In this sense, it can hardly be said that such use is subject to regulation in the province.
Section 18(1) of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act provides that "[a] person who has ownership, possession or the care and control of an animal shall provide the animal with food, water, shelter and care in accordance with the regulations." Anyone who violates this duty or fails to comply with it commits an offence. However, under section 4(2) of Schedule A to the General Regulation - Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, no one may be found guilty of such an offence as long as he or she has complied with the CCAC Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals. Although it does not make the control system developed by the CCAC mandatory in the province, this exception has the effect of encouraging research institutions and those who breed and transport experimental animals to comply with this system and submit to it.
In Nova Scotia the power to inspect and monitor research laboratories belongs to the Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (SPCA). This power extends to the breeders and suppliers of animals for experimental purposes since the Society's power of inspection and supervision is not limited solely to the facilities listed in the legislation. By means of regulations, the SPCA may prescribe conditions governing the housing and care of animals kept for the purposes of sale, research or breeding. However, the conditions laid down may not conflict with the standards contained in the codes of practice recommended for the care and housing of farm animals published by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada or the Agri-Food Research Council of Canada. Nor may they contradict the CCAC guidelines. The regulations even indicate that no prosecution may be brought against a person who complies with these guidelines. Although it does not make the system of control developed by the CCAC mandatory in the province, this provision nevertheless offers an incentive to comply with it. Furthermore, the Governor in Council of the province has the power to exempt any research conducted in accordance with a control system approved by the CCAC from the requirements laid down by the SPCA. However, this power has not yet been exercised. View Nova Scotia Animal Protection Act
The Ontario legislation, namely the Animals for Research Act, is unique in Canada in that it creates a system of control based on the registration of research facilities and the issuance of licences for supply facilities. In Ontario, therefore, all research facilities that use animals in their work must be registered. Among the provisions of the Animals for Research Act, one should note the duty to establish an animal care committee, the responsibilities and powers of which are similar to those required under the CCAC system, and the requirement for any operator of a research facility to submit to the person designated by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs a report respecting the animals used in the research facility for research. The Regulation 24 - Research Facilities and Supply Facilities also provides minimum standards for the housing and care of animals and the Regulation 25 - Transportation, prescribes the conditions for transporting animals used or intended for use by a research facility. Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act
In Quebec, the ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec is responsible for the Loi sur la protection sanitaire des animaux. Their website makes reference to CCAC standards when it comes to agricultural, teaching and scientific activities. View the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec website.
As per article 3a, chapter A-21.1 of the Animal Protection Act (1999) an animal is not considered to be in distress if it is handled in a manner consistent with a standard or code of conduct, criteria, practice or procedure that is prescribed as acceptable. The Codes of Practice for the care and handling of animals prescribed in Part II, section 3.14 of the Animal Protection Regulations (2000) as acceptable for the purposes of the Animal Protection Act (1999) include the ”Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals, published by the Canadian Council on Animal Care, volume 1, Second Edition (1993), as supplemented by policies and guidelines published and revised from time to time by the Canadian Council of Animal Care”. View Saskatchewan Animal Protection Regulations (2000)
On May 1st 2012, Newfoundland and Labrador amended the regulations to their legislation to make reference to CCAC standards. See the Animal Protection Standards Regulations, Reg 36/12
Other Interests Affecting Experimental Animal Care and Use
The media have an interest in research in general, and biomedical research in particular. A publication in a journal may stimulate interest from the media and a discussion of animal use in research may ensue. Institutions and investigators should be prepared, through a carefully thought-out institutional communications plan, to explain their use of experimental animals, including the procedures and safeguards in place to ensure that the animals were not subjected to any unnecessary pain and/or distress.
Animal protection groups are always concerned about animals and how they are used. The positions taken may be extreme or moderate, ranging from the position that humans have no right to use animals for our own purposes to positions that accept some use of animals but condemn unnecessary pain and suffering. These concerns for the well-being of experimental animals should be treated with respect and not necessarily viewed as obstructive. Maintaining a dialogue with all persons interested in animals is an approach that is fundamental to the CCAC philosophy.
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