Animals Research at UBC


FAQs

2010 CCAC Assessment Report of UBC's Animal Care and Use Program

What is the CCAC, and how does it regulate UBC animal research? How often does it inspect UBC labs?

The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) is the national organization responsible for setting and maintaining standards for the care and use of animals in science in Canada.

The Government of Canada endorses CCAC standards for certification of animal care and use programs at all Canadian universities, on behalf of the public.

The CCAC assesses UBC’s animal research program once every three years. The assessment, conducted by the CCAC assessment panel, composed of scientists, veterinarians and community representatives, consisted of inspections of all animal research and housing facilities and a detailed review of research protocols, veterinarian reports and Animal Care Committee meeting documentation.

UBC is in compliance with CCAC guidelines and hold a CCAC Certificate of Good Animal Practice.

How many animal facilities does UBC have? Why does the report redact their names?

UBC has invested more than $100 million in building new state-of-the-art animal care facilities while upgrading existing ones. Since 2004, the number of facilities has decreased from 34 to 22, allowing for better use of resources, management and veterinary services.

Many of the new and upgraded facilities provide care and housing above and beyond standards currently required by CCAC guidelines and regulations, including enhanced environmental enrichment that allow animals to express natural behaviours.

Names of these facilities have been redacted for the safety and security of personnel and animals.

What does the inspection review, and how is UBC expected to respond to major, serious or regular recommendations?

The assessment is conducted by the CCAC assessment panel, composed of scientists, veterinarians and community representatives. It consists of inspections of all animal research and housing facilities and a detailed review of research protocols, veterinarian reports and Animal Care Committee meeting documentation.

CCAC recommendations are divided into three categories based on the timeline required to address the issues.

In accordance with the timeline for CCAC Certification (http://www.ccac.ca/en_/assessment/certification/timeline), major recommendations must be addressed immediately. Implementation reports of serious and regular recommendations are due by three months and six months after receiving the assessment report.

CCAC did not issue any major recommendations to UBC as a result of the 2010 assessment.

UBC has submitted implementation reports to all recommendations, and has subsequently received the CCAC Certificate of Good Animal Practice.

What is the primary finding of the 2010 CCAC inspection report? What are the biggest concerns?

The CCAC report lists eight commendations, including for the dedication of UBC’s Animal Care Committee and the staff and clinical veterinarians of its Animal Care and Use Program.

CCAC Recommendations are divided into three categories based on the timeframe required to address recommendations: Major, Serious and Regular. No major recommendations were made as a result of the 2010 visit.

The report lists six Serious Recommendations: to continue to strengthen management of all facilities and its post-approval monitoring and tracking programs, to enhance veterinary services, and to improve facilities and training program for aquatic animals.

How has UBC responded to make improvements?

Based on the CCAC’s Serious Recommendations, UBC has made major and continuous improvements in the following areas:

  • Facility and resource management

UBC has invested more than $100 million in building new state-of-the-art animal care facilities while upgrading existing ones. Since 2004, the number of facilities has decreased from 34 to 22, allowing for better use of resources, management and veterinary services. Many of the new and upgraded facilities provide care and housing above and beyond standards currently required by CCAC guidelines and regulations, including enhanced environmental enrichment that allow animals to express natural behaviours.

  • Enhanced veterinary services

Clinical veterinarians have grown from one in 2005 to five in 2012, with a sixth currently being considered. This, coupled with centralizing research facilities from 34 to 22 and the completion of a new state-of-the-art facility, enables veterinarians to visit sites in frequencies that far exceed mandated requirement of the CCAC.

  • Post-approval monitoring and routine tracking

A budget increase to the Office of Research Services, which oversees post-approval monitoring in conjunction with the Animal Care Committee, has been implemented subsequent to the CCAC visit.

A veterinarian is assigned to monitor and continuously review the progress of research protocols and care of animals, as part of UBC’s post-approval monitoring program, one of the most comprehensive in Canada. Under the purview of the Office of Research Services, the post-approval monitoring program has the authority to halt research funding.

UBC is in the process of identifying an appropriate electronic system to integrate tracking of animals and research protocols. Once identified and purchased, the system will be made available to all facilities.

  • New aquatic animal facility and training program

A new, multi-million dollar aquatic research facility has recently been completed. Aquatic laboratories in this facility are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to house fish, amphibians and small aquatic reptiles. The centralization of aquatic animal facilities will greatly enhance management and veterinary care.

A new training program involving some of Canada’s leading researchers at UBC is currently being developed and implemented. The program includes both classroom and hands-on sessions and will be offered twice a year to train researchers, staff and students.

What is the Animal Care Committee?

The UBC Animal Care Committee (ACC) oversees all aspects of animal research at UBC. This includes ethical review as well as approval and monitoring of animal research procedures, conditions and facilities. Researchers submit detailed protocols (formal descriptions of investigative methods) to the ACC for consideration. No animal work of any type can be done without Committee approval.

Upon approval, the research is subject to annual reviews by the ACC, as well as routine audits through the post-approval monitoring program.

The ACC comprises 15-25 members, including a veterinarian, representatives from departments that use research animals and from those that do not, and from the general public. The Committee meets 12-18 times per year and conducts annual site visits to each animal care facility.

The 2010 CCAC Assessment Report commends members of the ACC and its policy subcommittee, for their “diligent work in overseeing animal care and use.”

How are projects monitored after receiving approval?

Once approved by the ACC, research protocols are subject to annual reviews by the ACC, as well as routine audits through the post-approval monitoring program.

A veterinarian is assigned to monitor and continuously review the progress of research protocols and care of animals, as part of UBC’s post-approval monitoring program, one of the most comprehensive in Canada. Under the purview of the Office of Research Services, the post-approval monitoring program has the authority to halt research funding.

A budget increase to the Office of Research Services, which oversees post-approval monitoring in conjunction with the Animal Care Committee, has been implemented subsequent to the CCAC visit.

How many veterinarians work in animal care at UBC, and what is their role?

The number of clinical veterinarians at UBC has increased from one in 2005 to five in 2012, with a sixth currently being considered. This, coupled with centralizing research facilities from 34 to 22 and the completion of a new state-of-the-art facility, enables veterinarians to visit sites in frequencies that far exceed mandated requirement of the CCAC.

UBC veterinary staff is on call 24/7, 365 days a year for emergencies involving animals. They also develop, implement and certify training to students and research staff.

A veterinarian is assigned to monitor and continuously review the progress of research protocols and care of animals, as part of UBC’s post-approval monitoring program, one of the most comprehensive in Canada. Under the purview of the Office of Research Services, the post-approval monitoring program has the authority to halt research funding.

What kind of training is required of those who use animals? What role do students play in animal research? What kind of training do they receive?

All graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff involved in animal research must complete training that covers anesthesia, surgery and rodent biology. They must pass written and hands-on exams designed and implemented by veterinarians. A certificate is then issued and is valid for five years. Practical courses are mandatory for rodent users.

All personnel are retrained and re-certified every five years and annual animal care workshops are held. The UBC Animal Care and Use Program has the authority to halt the release of research funding if certificates aren’t up-to-date.

Undergraduate students involved in short-term research projects are not required to complete a full suite of training, or to be formally listed in research protocols, however, they are personally supervised at all times by senior researchers at all times while working with animals.

Students can confidentially contact the Director of Animal Care or the Animal Care Committee if they are uncomfortable with any aspect of the research with which they are involved, or with the behaviour of their colleagues.

When new students and staff join research projects, they are added to the approved animal research protocols by amendment. Only those who actively handle animals are listed in protocols and each listing details how the individual is involved in animal research and their training.

In the area of aquatic animals research, a new training program involving some of Canada’s leading researchers at UBC is currently being developed and implemented. The program includes both classroom and hands-on sessions and will be offered twice a year to train researchers, staff and students.

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Animal Research
E-mail: research.info@ubc.ca