Animals Research at UBC


FAQs

2013 FAQ on CCAC

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

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

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

UBC holds a CCAC Certificate of Good Animal Practice.

What is the Assessment Report and how is UBC expected to react to it?

The assessment is conducted by the CCAC assessment panel, comprised of scientists, veterinarians and community representatives. It consists of site visits 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 (http://www.ccac.ca/en_/assessment/certification/timeline).

Major recommendations must be addressed immediately. Implementation reports of serious and regular recommendations are due within three months and six months respectively after receiving the assessment report.

CCAC did not issue any major recommendations to UBC as a result of the 2013 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 2013 CCAC Assessment Report?

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 2013 visit.

The report identifies Serious Recommendations: to ensure effective communication between research teams, veterinary and animal care staff, to make the best use of each facility, and to use and manage the facilities in well-coordinated, collaborative ways that will ensure sound standards of animal care and use and good services to animal users.

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 work involving animals 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 up to 25 members, including a veterinarian, representatives from departments that both use and do not use research animals and the general public. The Committee meets 12 to18 times per year and conducts annual site visits to each animal care facility.

The 2013 CCAC Assessment Report commends members of the ACC for being “dedicated and engaged in promoting high standards of 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 Continuing Review team which includes a full-time 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.

How many veterinarians work at UBC and what is their role?

There are five clinical veterinarians at UBC. This, coupled with centralizing more research facilities and the completion of three new state-of-the-art facilities, enables veterinarians to visit sites in frequencies far exceeding 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 Continuing Review team, which includes a full-time 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.

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

All graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, researchers and staff involved in animal research must complete an online ethics course. In addition, there are courses which are mandatory for rodent research, depending on specific procedures performed, that covers anesthesia, surgery and rodent biology. Researchers must pass written and hands-on exams designed by veterinarians. A certificate is then issued and is valid for five years, upon which time personnel are retrained and re-certified.

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 by senior researchers at all times while working with animals.

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.

Why does the report redact the names of the animal facilities at UBC?

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, allowing for better use of resources, management and veterinary services.

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.

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

 

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