Animal Care Committee
The Animal Care Committee is Memorial's regulatory committee responsible for the ethical assessment of all protocols for animal care and use in research and teaching. A standing committee of the university, the Animal Care Committee has representatives from Memorial's veterinary, technical, research and student communities, as well as non-animal users and external community members. The broad base of membership provides diversity of expertise and insight.
All research or teaching that involves animals must go through Memorial's Animal Care Committee to get ethical approval, before a project begins.
The mandate of the Animal Care Committee is outlined in the Canadian Council on Animal Care's Terms of Reference for Animal Care Committees. Included in the mandate are the responsibilities of protocol review for ethical merit; post-approval exchange with investigators, their students and their laboratory personnel; facility inspections; review of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's); policy development; and training oversight.
Scientific and Pedagogical Merit
Research projects must have independent scientific merit review, also known as peer review, before ethical approval can be granted. Similarly, teaching protocols require assessment for pedagogical merit before animal ethics approval can be granted. These preliminary stages set the stage for ethical review, as a protocol can only go forth to the Animal Care Committee if it is assessed by independent peers to advance or transmit knowledge.
As part of protocol development, researchers or course instructors are required to apply the CCAC's "3R's": Replacement, Refinement and Reduction. Annual reviews requirements have researchers apply the 3R's for the duration of the project.
Memorial's Terms of Reference are currently undergoing update and review. A revised document will be published in 2013.
Agents of the Committee
The University Veterinarian and the Assistant Director of Animal Care Services are agents for the Animal Care Committee as they conduct rounds, complete animal health records, assess animal well-being.