University of Saskatchewan Policies
Care and Use of Animals in Research
To ensure that research involving animals is conducted in an ethical manner and in compliance with national standards.
The University requires that research or other studies involving animals undertaken by anyone associated with the University, or any University facilities or services used, or funds for such purposes accepted, or accounts established, meet the standards outlined in the most current Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals published by the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) and in other guidelines published or endorsed by the CCAC.
The body authorized to oversee the administrative aspects of research involving animals shall be the University Committee on Animal Care and Supply. The terms of reference of this committee were approved by University Council, October, 1999. It shall be the responsibility of UCACS to establish and oversee appropriate procedures to ensure ethical conduct of research involving animals and compliance with CCAC standards.
University Committee on Animal Care and Supply: Terms of Reference
1. Status, and relationship with other Campus animal care committees
- The University Committee on Animal Care and Supply (UCACS) is a University Committee that reports to the Vice-President (Research).
- The WCVM has an Animal Care Committee. The Chair is a member of the UCACS.
- A number of departments / research institutes that are administratively responsible for animal facilities within the department have user committees. These departments / research institutes have representatives on the UCACS.
UCACS members will be appointed by the Vice-President (Research) for a term of three years. Terms may be renewed once, normally. A former member who has been off the committee for at least three years may be reappointed for another term.
a) Chair: Shall be a faculty member, appointed by the Vice-President (Research), not directly involved in the management of the institutional animal facilities, and not the laboratory animal veterinarian(s) for the University.
b) Researchers experienced in animal care and use (15):
College of Agriculture (1)
College of Arts & Science (1)
College of Medicine (5)
College of Pharmacy & Nutrition (1)
Western College of Veterinary Medicine (3)
Colleges of Dentistry, Engineering, Nursing, Physical Education (1)
Affiliated Research Institutes (2)
Unaffiliated Research Institutes (1)
c) Animal Resources Centre Administrative Staff and Veterinarians (2):
Director, Animal Resources Centre (ex officio)
Assistant Director, Animal Resources Centre (ex officio)
d) Institutional Non-user of Animals (1):
e) Community Representatives (2):
At least one humane society representative from the Saskatoon SPCA or Saskatchewan SPCA
f) Technical Staff Representatives (2):
g) Student Representatives (2):
University Undergraduate Representative (USSU)
University Postgraduate Representative (GSA)
There are three standing committees of the UCACS:
a) Executive Committee:
Responsible for: i) Committee business between formal meetings of the full UCACS; ii) Protocol appeals.
Four Researchers (from Membership category (2.b) above)
Director, Animal Resources Centre
One Community Representative
One Student Representative
Members to be chosen by full Committee at Spring Meeting
b) Protocol Review Committee:
Director or Assistant Director, Animal Resources Centre
Six Researchers (from Membership category (2.b) above) on a rotating basis
Other Researchers with Special Expertise, on a rotating basis
Two Community Representatives
Institutional Non-user Representative
Two Student Representatives
c) Facilities Inspection Committee:
Director or Assistant Director, Animal Resources Centre
Four Researchers (from Membership category (2.b) above)
Two Community Representatives
The UCACS has the authority, on behalf of the President of the University, to:
a) Stop any objectionable procedure if it considers that unnecessary distress or pain is being experienced by an animal.
b) Stop immediately any use of animals which deviates from the approved use, any non-approved procedure, or any procedure causing unforeseen pain or distress to animals.
c) Have an animal killed humanely if pain or distress caused to the animal cannot be alleviated.
It is the responsibility of the UCACS to:
a) Ensure that no research or testing project or teaching program, (including field studies), involving animals be commenced without prior UCACS approval of a written animal use protocol; further to this, that no animals be acquired or used before such approval. This includes internally-funded projects.
b) Ensure that no animals be held for display or breeding purposes, or for eventual use in research, teaching or testing projects, without prior UCACS approval of a written animal use protocol.
c) Require all animal users to complete an Assurance of Animal Care protocol form and ensure that the information therein includes the points, clearly presented in a form that all members of the UCACS Protocol Review Committee can readily understand, as identified at the end of this document, in the section Information Required in the Assurance of Animal Care Protocol Form and in the CCAC Guidelines for Animal Utilization Protocol Review.
d) Ensure that, for research and testing projects, a peer review of scientific merit is carried out. If the review is not carried out by an external, peer review agency, the UCACS Protocol Review Committee should require that it be obtained according to the CCAC Guidelines on Animal Utilization Protocol Review.
e) Ensure that the Protocol Review Committee reviews and assesses all animal use protocols, with particular emphasis on the CCAC's Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals, Ethics of Animal Experimentation and Guidelines for Animal Utilization Protocol Review and, where necessary, require further supportive information from the investigator/teacher or meet with the investigator/teacher to ensure that all members of the committee understand the procedures to be used on the animal. The committee must also ensure that all procedures comply with CCAC guidelines, and if at variance with those guidelines, require justification for the variance on scientific grounds.
The Protocol Review Committee should both discuss protocols and make decisions on them during full committee meetings, rather than through individual reviews, and should attempt to reach decisions by consensus. The UCACS may delegate the responsibility of interim approvals to a protocol review subcommittee, which must include at least one scientific member, one veterinarian and one community representative, one of which should preferably be the chair of the Protocol Review Committee. However, such interim approvals must be subject to discussion and final approval at a full meeting of the committee.
f) Ensure that the Protocol Review Committee reviews all protocols annually, i.e. within a year of commencement of the project, and approves any modifications to a protocol before they are implemented. All research and teaching protocols up for annual renewal: a) without any major changes or amendments; and, b) of "B" or "C" category of invasiveness, will be reviewed by the Director, or Assistant Director, Animal Resources Centre. All protocols will receive whole committee review at least every three years. For any major changes to a protocol, a new one will be required. The submission of a new protocol will be required after two consecutive renewals.
g) Document all UCACS Protocol Review Committee discussions and decisions in the committee minutes and on attachments to the protocol forms.
h) Define an appeal mechanism that can be used by the author of a protocol in the event that animal use is not approved by the UCACS.
i) Ensure that all animal users have the opportunity to become familiar with CCAC's Guide and Ethics statement, federal, provincial or municipal statutes that may apply, as well as University requirements.
j) Ensure that animal users update their protocols with any modifications they intend to make.
k) Ensure that animal users report any unanticipated problems or complications, as well as on the steps they have taken to address the problem(s), to the UCACS.
l) Ensure appropriate care of animals in all stages of their life and in all experimental situations. Veterinary care must be available. Arrangements should be made to obtain the services of a veterinarian, at least on a consultative basis, if they are not readily available within the institution.
m) Establish procedures, commensurate with current veterinary standards, to ensure that:
i) unnecessary pain or distress is avoided;
ii) anaesthesia and analgesia are properly and effectively used; the only exception to this may be when agents must be withheld as a scientifically-justified requirement of the study, and that this has been approved by the UCACS. Painful studies requiring exemption from the use of either anaesthetics or analgesia must be subject to particular scrutiny, not only prior to approval, but also during the experiment;
iii) appropriate post-operative care is provided.
iv) all due consideration is given to animal welfare, including environmental enrichment.
n) Ensure that policies to provide for a system of animal care that will meet the needs of the institution are established and implemented, and include:
i) the requirement that all animal care and animal experimentation are conducted within the guidelines as set out in CCAC's Guide, and any federal, provincial and institutional regulations that may be in effect;
ii) ensuring adequate animal care and management of the animal facilities, in particular by verifying that there is a person clearly designated to be in charge of animal care and management of the animal facilities;
iii) the training and qualifications of animal users and animal care personnel;
iv) standards of husbandry, facilities and equipment;
v) standard operating procedures for all activities and procedures that involve animals;
vi) procedures for euthanasia.
o) Encourage the use of pilot studies with few animals when new approaches, methods or products are being tried, before approving new, large scale protocols.
p) In the case of projects involving proprietary or patentable research or testing insist on close monitoring of animals in order to respect the elements outlined in 5.m.
The UCACS will meet at least twice per year, and as often as necessary to fulfil its responsibilities. A majority (greater than 50%) of the members shall be the quorum for UCACS meetings, and for all committee meetings.
On behalf of the UCACS, the Facilities Inspection Committee should undertake site visits of all animal care facilities and experimental laboratories of the University at least once a year, and should document these visits through the committee minutes or written reports.
a) Must regularly review:
i) its Terms of Reference to meet new CCAC policies or guidelines and changing needs within the University, the scientific community, the animal welfare community and society as a whole;
ii) the security of the animals and research facilities;
iii) standard operating procedures for animal care and use;
iv) policies and procedures for monitoring animal care and experimental procedures within the institution.
b) Must maintain liaison with the CCAC Secretariat and with provincial authorities where applicable, and submit animal use information in the CCAC Animal Use Data Form (AUDF) format for all protocols annually and also in pre-assessment documentation.
c) Must develop a crisis management program for the animal facilities and for the animal care and use program, in conjunction with any general institutional crisis management plan(s).
d) Should, from time to time, sponsor seminars or workshops on the use of animals in science and the ethics of animal experimentation, and encourage as many animal users, animal caregivers, students, UCACS members and other interested parties to attend.
e) Should try to achieve and maintain a high profile within the institution and in the community in order to demonstrate the institution's efforts in promoting animal welfare and to allay some of the public concerns regarding animal experimentation.
f) Should be open to developing and maintaining communication with animal welfare organizations.
g) Should be prepared to cope with criticism, which may develop from time to time.
Information Required in the Assurance of Animal Care Protocol Form
i) project title and descriptive key words or brief protocol description, as defined in the CCAC Animal Use Data Form;
ii) principal investigators/teachers, and all personnel who will handle animals;
iii) departmental affiliation;
iv) proposed start date, proposed end date;
v) for research or testing projects, funding source(s) and status of funding approval;
vi) an indication of whether the project has received peer review for scientific merit;
vii) for teaching programs, a course number and an indication of pedagogical merit;
viii) lay summary;
ix) an indication of the use of biohazardous, infectious, biological, or chemical or radioactive agents in living animals; and, if so, an indication of institutional approval of this use.
x) category(ies) of invasiveness as defined in the CCAC Guide and purpose of animal use (PAU) as defined in the CCAC Animal Use Data Form;
xi) an indication of whether the study is acute or chronic;
xii) species and numbers of animals to be used and justification thereof;
xiii) a description of possible replacement, refinement and/or reduction alternatives, and justification if these are not to be employed, or a description of the applicant's efforts to find such alternatives;
xiv) anaesthesia and analgesia, including dosages and methods of use; justification for not using anaesthesia or analgesia, if relevant;
xv) a description detailing the procedures that are carried out on the animals;
xvi) a description of the endpoint(s) of the experimentation
xvii) a description of capture, restraint, transportation and/or housing of animals used in field studies, as well as any other information pertinent to field studies, such as capture of non-target species and potential injuries or mortality during capture or transportation, if relevant;
xviii) the method of euthanasia, if used; justification for any physical euthanasia methods, or for any methods that deviate from those described in the CCAC Guide or the 1993 Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia.
xix) a description how the animals will be disposed of if they are not to be euthanized;
xx) any other information considered important or necessary and pertinent, including information or results derived from any relevant previous protocols.
Contact: Director, Ethics Office (966-8585)
Copyright 2007, University of Saskatchewan
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