The Educative Role of an Animal Care Committee in Canada: A Case Study
Abstract:Animal Care Committees (ACCs) in Canada operate within guidelines established by the Canadian Council on Animal Care, an autonomous advisory and supervisory body sponsored by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. ACCs are established to ensure appropriate, humane use of animals in research and teaching, including the adoption of valid alternatives. Their role includes an educative responsibility: to ensure that both ACC members and scientists using animals are acquainted with the ethical issues surrounding animal use and principles relating to refinement of techniques, reduction of numbers used and replacement where possible.
Strategies employed by one university ACC consistent with these aims are described and evaluated. Qualitative and quantitative data are presented derived from participant observation by the author as an ACC member, committee protocols, minutes and other records and a survey of animal users' perceptions of the role and value of the ACC. Results indicated a relatively low level of familiarity with ethical principles relating to the humane treatment of animals, although regulations governing housing and care were well known.