Canadian Council on Animal Care

CCAC

All the material on this page has been abstracted from the web site of the council. All experimental care and use of animals in this country is subject to the requirements of the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), a national, peer review organization founded in Ottawa in 1968.

Mandate and Purpose

The CCAC is the national peer review agency responsible for setting and maintaining standards for the ethical use and care of animals used in science (research, teaching and testing) throughout Canada. The purpose of the CCAC is to act in the interests of the people of Canada

  • to ensure that the use of animals, where necessary, for research, teaching and testing employs optimal care according to acceptable scientific standards
  • to promote an increased level of knowledge, awareness and sensitivity to relevant ethical principles

Ethics of Animal Investigation

The use of animals in research, teaching, and testing is acceptable ONLY if it promises to contribute to understanding of fundamental biological principles, or to the development of knowledge that can reasonably be expected to benefit humans or animals.

Animals should be used only if the researcher's best efforts to find an alternative have failed. A continuing sharing of knowledge, review of the literature, and adherence to the Russell-Burch "3R" tenet of "Replacement, Reduction and Refinement" are also requisites. Those using animals should employ the most humane methods on the smallest number of appropriate animals required to obtain valid information.

The Montréal Declaration on the Synthesis of Evidence to Advance the 3Rs Principles in Science.

CCAC 3Rs Microsite

To support implementation of the Three Rs in Canada this microsite aims to provide easily accessible, useful, and relevant information and resources related to Replacement, Reduction and Refinement.

Teaching and the Three Rs

The CCAC takes as its premise that the use of animals in science is acceptable ONLY if it promises to contribute to understanding of fundamental biological principles, or to the development of knowledge that can reasonably be expected to benefit humans, animals or the environment. Animals used for educational purposes are not being used to discover, prove or develop new ideas or techniques, but rather to demonstrate principles which are already well-known or to learn manual skills and techniques. Thus, before engaging in any discussions on the use of animals for the purposes of teaching, efforts should initially focus on finding a replacement alternative.

In the case where no replacement alternative is used, justification should be provided for the use of animals over the use of replacements such as models, videos, and computer simulations. The level and type of training of the students (graduate/postgraduate, specialized/non-specialized) are important considerations in ascertaining the need to use animals. Painful experiments or multiple invasive procedures on an individual animal, conducted solely for the
instruction of students in the classroom, or for the demonstration of established scientific knowledge, cannot be justified.