Using Mice to Test Drug X

Description of the Project

Note:  This example is ficticious, but is based on several projects similar to it.  It illustrates the point that projects that are legal in
a University setting are not necessarily legal for science fair projects.

A student wished to do a science fair project and approached a researcher in a local university.  She wanted to study possible side effects of effect of Drug X, because her brother has been instructed to take it to cure a medical issue.  There was anecdotal evidence on the internet that in a few cases these side effects could be severe.

Eager to help, the lab supervisor suggested that they inject 10 mice with the Drug X, and use another five mice as controls.  They will then have a technician sacrifice the mice and the student can look at their brains in an electron microscope.  While his lab was not specifically looking at Drug X, he was licensed and approved to do several similar drug studies.

The delegate wished to know if this project is legal.


The appropriate section of Policy 4.1.2 states, in section 8.1 (iv):

iv) Projects involving animal experimentation may be conducted under the supervision of research personnel employed by a University, Hospital, Government Organization or Agency, or Industrial Laboratory and where the animal experimentation has been pre-approved by a Scientific Review Board (or equivalent) in the institution employing the supervisor(s). A copy of the Letter of Approval from the SRB must be included in the documentation submitted to the Chief Judge, CWSF. All projects so approved are eligible for the Canada Wide Science Fair, and do not need further approval by the Ethical Committees of either the Regional Science Fair or the YSF.  

There is one exception to this section.  Student researchers may not pursue a project that leads directly to the death of a vertebrate animal.  Student researchers are prohibited from performing euthanasia; only the Qualified Scientist or an institutional representative may perform the euthanasia. All methods of euthanasia must adhere to current CCAC Guidelines.  

This project is ILLEGAL and can NOT be presented at the CWSF because the mice were sacrificed for the purpose of the science fair experiment.

The Ethics Committee of the university would also be concerned if they were to discover that this researcher was doing experiments for which he did not have specific permission.