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Vol 37  No 17
July 21, 2005


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Memorial receives certificate of
good animal practice

Memorial has received a certificate of Good Animal Practice from the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC). The CCAC is the national peer review agency responsible for setting and maintaining standards for the care and use of animals used in research, teaching and testing throughout Canada.

At Memorial the majority of researchers who use animals in biomedical research come from the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Science and the School of Pharmacy, which undertake research in the areas of cancer, stroke, immunology, nutrition, aging, hypertension and diabetes, to name a few.

Before any research on animals can be done at the university it must be approved at the national level by a scientific committee to which researchers send their proposals, and locally by a university committee called the Institutional Animal Care Committee (IACC). Dr. Robert Adamec, chair of the IACC, said that the committee has representatives from inside and outside the university.

“The committee and the researchers in charge of the projects have to comply with the guidelines set down by the CCAC,” said Dr. Adamec. “Their standards are extremely rigorous and ensure that animals are treated humanely.”

He also credits Animal Care Services, Memorial’s department which is responsible for maintaining healthy colonies of research animals, including the operation of the Vivarium which houses animals for their diligence. Animal Care Services also provides expertise, when required, to ensure animals are treated with the best methods available.

The CCAC is mostly funded by public monies through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), with additional contributions from federal science-based departments and private institutions. While the CCAC operates on an annual budget, it is funded through three-year grants from CIHR and NSERC, allowing the development and implementation of long-term policy. The performance of the CCAC is reviewed every three years upon grant renewal by external expert panels chosen by CIHR/NSERC.

The CCAC comprises 22 member organizations, whose representatives include scientists, educators, veterinarians and delegates from industry and the animal welfare movement. The CCAC conducts assessment visits to each participating institution using animals at least every three years, and follow-up visits by the CCAC are also carried out, often unannounced.

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