Treatment of Animals in Research and Teaching

Revised: July 21, 2005

 1. Purpose

To ensure the ethical and humane treatment and handling of all animals used in teaching and research under the auspices of Simon Fraser University and to facilitate research and teaching projects with animals in compliance with the guidelines and policies of the CCAC and SFU.

 2. Definitions

a.  “Animals”: non-human, living vertebrates, cephalopods and invertebrates with well developed nervous systems;

b.  “Principal Investigator” (PI) is the SFU faculty member (or acceptable equivalents as defined in other SFU policies) in charge of a research or teaching project;

c.  “Director of Animal Care” (the “Director”), appointed by SFU’s Vice-President, Research, shall be qualified to practice as a Veterinarian in British Columbia;

d.  “SFU” is the Simon Fraser University;

e.  “ACF” is the Simon Fraser University Animal Care Facility;

f.  “ARC” is the Simon Fraser University Animal Resource Centre;

g.  “UACC” is the Simon Fraser University Animal Care Committee; and

h.  “CCAC” is the Canadian Council on Animal Care.

 3. Scope

This policy applies to all research and teaching involving Animals that is undertaken under the auspices of SFU and/or using the resources of SFU. All projects must have an SFU faculty member (or equivalent as defined in 2b above) as PI.

 4. Standards

The University adopts standards compliant with:

a.  the policies and guidelines of the CCAC, which are reflected in the
Memorandum of Understanding between SFU and the three Canadian federal
granting agencies;

b.  the policies and procedures of SFU and the UACC; and

c.  all relevant federal and provincial regulations.

 5. Policy

a.  Authority

The UACC has the authority, on behalf of the Vice-President, Research, to:

i.  stop any procedure if it considers unnecessary distress or pain to be experienced by an Animal;

ii.  stop immediately any use of Animals which deviates from the approved use, or which employs any non-approved procedure or any procedure causing unforeseen pain or distress to Animals; and

iii.  have an Animal euthanized if pain or distress caused to the Animal cannot be alleviated.

b.  Responsibility

i.  The day to day care and welfare of all Animals used in research or teaching under the auspices of SFU are the direct responsibility of the Director of Animal Care. Breaches of appropriate care and welfare shall be dealt with by the Director. Continuing and/or serious breaches shall be reported to the Chair of the UACC who, together with the Director, shall decide upon appropriate action. A report of such action shall be made at the next meeting of the UACC. If thought appropriate, a report shall also be made to the Vice-President, Research.

ii.  All faculty members, graduate and undergraduate students using Animals in research or teaching must have the necessary expertise and appropriate training in accordance with the policies of SFU and the policies and guidelines of the CCAC. The Director will decide upon the appropriate methods of achieving these levels.

iii.  The acquisition (by purchase, breeding, stock or, with proper authorization obtained, from the wild) of all the Animals required for all projects is arranged through the Director. The Director is also responsible for the disposal of the Animals when the project terminates. Animals remain under the ownership of SFU until disposal by approved SFU policies, such as euthanasia or adoption.

iv.  The Director, in close collaboration with and support of the UACC, is responsible for monitoring the compliance of researchers with SFU policy and the terms of the approval of their projects. If the Director observes or becomes aware that relevant regulations or guidelines are not being followed in any teaching program or research study, she/he advises the Principal Investigator so that prompt remedial action can be taken. In the event that this is not done to her/his satisfaction or in circumstances where in her/his opinion the animals are being subjected to unnecessary or severe or prolonged distress or suffering, the Director may take whatever action she/he considers necessary to remedy the situation. The Director keeps the UACC Chair and the Vice-President, Research fully informed of such incidents and the reasons for the action taken. She/he may also, at her/his discretion, seek the advice of the CCAC or other experts as may be appropriate.

v.  The Director maintains up-to-date records of all Animals maintained at each designated location, showing their location, number, species, conditions of maintenance, and the person(s) responsible for their care. The Director of Animal Care reports, at least yearly to the Chair of the UACC with a summary of such records, and to the CCAC as required.

vi.  The UACC ensures that appropriate housing and caging are provided for all captive Animals in all designated locations listed in 5d.

vii.  All proposals for the use of Animals in research or teaching require the prior approval of the UACC. The detailed responsibilities and powers of the UACC are those set out in its Terms of Reference and its Procedures. These are published and may be modified from time to time under the authority of the Vice-President, Research. The current procedures for consideration of applications for the use of Animals are attached to this policy.

viii.  The Director shall undertake continuing education/training opportunities in experimental animal care and use.

c.  UACC Membership

UACC members will be appointed by the Vice-President, Research for terms of no less than two years and no more than four years (renewable once, normally). The complement of the committees will vary and should be determined by the needs of SFU Researchers, but should include:

i.  scientists and/or teachers experienced in animal care and use, who may or may not be actively using animals during their term on the UACC;

ii.  a veterinarian, preferably experienced in experimental animal care and use, who is being provided with continuing education/training opportunities in experimental animal care and use;

iii.  an institutional member whose normal activities do not depend on or involve animal use for research, teaching or testing;

iv.  at least one person representing community interests and concerns, and who has no affiliation with the institution, and who is not involved in animal use for research, teaching or testing;

v.  technical staff representation (either an animal care, an animal facility, or an animal research technician); and

vi.  student representation (graduate and/or undergraduate).

The Director or the person responsible for the management of the animal facilities, should be included on the UACC. The UACC must have a Chair who should not be directly involved in the management of the institutional animal facilities, nor be the consulting veterinarian for the institution, nor be involved in the preparation of a significant number of the protocols to be reviewed by the committee, in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Provision should be made to co-opt other persons to the UACC as the need arises. A reasonable quorum, such as a majority of the members, should be established for UACC meetings. Meetings should be scheduled at times that are convenient for all members, including community representatives.

d.  Animals

Animals shall be maintained only in designated locations. Such locations are:

i.  the ACF;

ii.  the ARC;

iii.  the Alcan Aquatic Research Centre and its outdoor tanks;

iv.  the Department of Biological Sciences;

v.  the School of Kinesiology;

vi.  off campus (such as field) locations approved by the UACC; and

vii.  such additional locations as may be approved by the Director of Animal Care.

e.  Fees

per diem charge is made for the Animals housed on campus. Additional charges are made for services above and beyond the normal housing and care of Animals.

f.  Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

SOPs and other guidelines for the ACF, ARC, satellite facilities and field locations are developed and published by the Director after having been approved by the UACC.

g.  Peer Review

The UACC must ensure that, for research projects, a peer review of scientific merit is carried out; if the review is not carried out by an external, peer review agency, the UACC will require that it be obtained according to the CCAC guidelines specified in: Animal Use Protocol Review, 1997 (see also the CCAC Policy on the Importance of Independent Peer Review of the Scientific Merit of Animal-Based Research Projects, 2000).

h.  External Research Organizations

Protocols submitted by external research organizations will be considered on a fee for service basis by the UACC based on availability of appropriate resources and prior approval by the UACC. A service contract will be required to govern such arrangements. The Director will act as the SFU point of contact for such external research organizations.

i.   Adoption

Under certain circumstances, Animals that have been used for research or teaching projects at SFU may be deemed suitable candidates for adoption.

Anyone interested in adopting an Animal will be required to fill out an “Adoption Agreement for Research Animals,” available from the Director. The Director reserves the right to refuse adoption to an individual, at his/her discretion. 

 6. Interpretation

Questions of interpretation or application of this policy or its procedures shall be referred to the President, whose decision shall be final.

SFU University Animal Care Committee

Consideration of Applications to Use Animals for Research or Teaching

The Principal Investigator (PI) submits a completed form entitled "Application to Use Animals for Research or Teaching" to the Director at least eight weeks before the planned commencement of the project. In certain cases, such as teaching protocols, the Director may agree to a different time scale. Researchers wishing to use Invertebrates should fill out the “Application to use invertebrates/tissues for research or teaching” form. This form can be submitted at any time. In all cases sufficient time must be allowed for the acquisition of animals and equipment and for the review of the procedures to be employed in the project. It is recommended that the application be reviewed by the Director of Animal Care prior to submission. The Application form is available from the Director of Animal Care (604-291-4738). The PI must renew their research applications annually and in the case of teaching protocols, they must be renewed every semester. After the fourth year (third renewal), a new application form must be submitted. Any changes to the application must be submitted as an amendment and approved before implementation. Major changes may warrant submission of a new application.

a.  As part of the application, the PI assigns to the project a Category of Invasiveness (COI) level from A to E based on the nature of the research being conducted. A description of each category is available by contacting the Director of Animal Care, or accessing the CCAC’s website, If the Director does not accept the COI assigned by the PI, a final decision is made by the UACC. Endpoint agreements must be submitted as part of all COI B,C,D and E applications. Progress reports are to be provided after the fourth renewal, or whenever requested by the UACC.

b.  Protocols assigned a COI of B, C, D, or E must be submitted at least 3 weeks prior to the next UACC meeting (usually held monthly) for review. Protocols with a COI of A may be submitted at any time.

c.  Upon receipt by the Director, she/he reviews the application for consistency with the UACC Terms of References, assigns a project number and considers the following factors:

i.  the determination of whether the proposed treatment of animals conforms to the standards specified in this Policy; and

ii.  the availability of required resources (animals, space, equipment, and staff).

d.  For COI A protocols, amendments, 1st, 2nd and 3rd renewals:

i.  After review by the Director, the application is forwarded to the UACC subcommittee for review and decision by consensus. The subcommittee consists of the Director of Animal Care, the UACC Chair, a scientist and a community member who is selected by the UACC. If a decision cannot be made, the application is forwarded to the UACC for the final decision.

ii.  The UACC is informed of all decisions at the next UACC meeting.

e.  For COI B, C, D, and E protocols, 4th renewals, all teaching projects and for protocols described under section d)i) above that were not approved by the UACC subcommittee:

i.  After a review is made by the Director, the application is sent to all the UACC members for review. A decision by consensus is made by the UACC at their next committee meeting.

ii.  For all D and E protocols, or for any protocols of concern to the UACC, a presentation by the PI is required at the UACC meeting at which the application is considered.

f.  The Chair of the UACC informs the PI of the decision of the UACC in writing.

g.  If the project is approved, copies of the approval letter are forwarded to the Office of Research Services, if applicable, and to the UACC representative of the PrincipalInvestigator's department. The ACF/ARC retains signed copies of all approved projects and approval letters.

h.  If the project is not approved, the PI is asked for more information, and may be required to submit a revised project proposal for review by members of the UACC.

i.   If these actions fail to lead to approval of the project, at a subsequent meeting of the UACC, the Chair of the UACC provides the PI with a written statement of reasons for non-approval of the project.

j.   The PI may ask for a hearing before the UACC to appeal the decision. In the event the appeal is not successful, the PI may appeal to the Vice- President, Research who may appoint an appeal committee. The decision of that committee, if ratified by the Vice-President, Research, would be final. The CCAC may be called upon for information purposes; however, appeals cannot be directed to the CCAC.

k.  The acquisition of all animals for approved projects is arranged through the Director of Animal Care in accordance with this Policy.

l.  If the Director proposes to conduct a research protocol involving animals, a consulting Veterinarian replaces the Director in the above procedures for consideration of the protocol and monitoring.

Contact Information

        UACC Coordinator

                    Discovery 2, Room 230                        Phone: (778) 782 - 4738
                    8900 Nelson Way                                  Email:  
                    Simon Fraser University                    
                    Burnaby, BC   V5A 4W9