Every six years the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) conducts a full assessment of Canadian universities’ animal care and use programs. The assessment panel is composed of scientists, veterinarians experienced in laboratory animal medicine and community representatives. The panel assesses all aspects of the program including animal research and housing facilities and reviews research and teaching protocols.
Assessment Reports include commendations and recommendations in three categories: Major, Serious and Regular.
Read more on categories of CCAC Recommendations
In its 2019 assessment of UBC’s Animal Research program, CCAC made a number of regular recommendations and three serious recommendations. No major recommendations were made by CCAC as part of the assessment.
As required, UBC replied to all recommendations.
The following consists of CCAC’s Serious Recommendations followed by a summary of UBC’s responses. Names of individual researchers and facilities have been removed from the summary for safety and security.
Serious Recommendations & Responses
Serious Recommendation #1
That in permanent alternative holding and housing facilities the ACC ensure:
- robust oversight of animal‐based activities by independent‐of‐research‐team‐members;
- appropriate infrastructure, management practices, and standard operating procedures; and
- improved communication between researchers, post‐approval monitoring personnel and clinical veterinarians.
The UBC Animal Care and Use Program is committed to the welfare and monitoring of all animals in the program, including those within permanent alternate housing spaces. To address the issues identified in serious recommendation #1, we met with our researchers who conduct their research in permanent alternate housing spaces to discuss oversight moving forward. We have adopted a multi‐pronged approach which involves:
- Submission of monthly morbidity & mortality reports
- This represents an increase in reporting frequency
- Reporting templates shared for consistency
- More frequent Post‐Approval Monitoring visits;
- Visit frequency is determined by formula-based risk matrix. The formula has been adjusted in order that permanent alternative housing spaces will receive more visits
- Review of Standard Operating Procedures for all alternate housing spaces
- All researchers using alternate housing spaces were requested to submit lab SOPs with an impact on animal welfare to the ACC for review. SOPs with an impact on animal welfare will be prioritized, and will be requested during protocol review whenever the Animal Care Committee deems it necessary
- Ongoing relationship building between researchers & their veterinarians
- Researchers working with species with a higher potential to require clinical veterinarian assistance will increase the frequency of visits with veterinarians
- Researchers to invite their clinical veterinarians to their lab meetings in order for lab members to meet the veterinarians as well, in order to foster familiarity and develop more open communication.
- Increasing the frequency of post-approval monitoring (PAM) audits (see 2 above) will also result in more robust communication between the PAM team and the research teams.
The ACC has been actively working with our researchers who have permanent alternate housing spaces to ensure SOPs are being appropriately followed.
The researcher team in the _____ building is now in their new alternate housing space, which has been inspected and approved by the ACC. The concerns raised by the CCAC regarding the surgical space and animal housing spaces are no longer an issue as this team is now in a newly constructed space.
Serious Recommendation #2
That all animal housing and procedure areas in ______ be brought up to CCAC standards, or that these areas be closed and animals and activities moved to appropriate facilities that meet CCAC standards.
The ____ was officially closed on December 31, 2020. All animals are now located in the newly renovated facility (see response to Serious Recommendation #3 below). This provides an ideal research space for the animals and activities currently being conducted. Following the movement of the animals to the new facility, the old facility went through a full decontamination process.
Serious Recommendation #3
That the _____ be completed and commissioned in a timely way.
We are happy to report that the construction, including commissioning, is now complete. The ____ became fully operational as of November 2, 2020 and the movement of all animals and equipment into the facility followed extensive plans jointly developed by UBC Project Services, institutional leadership, facility managers, academic users and veterinarians.