Role of the Animal Care Committee
The Wilfrid Laurier University Animal Care Committee (ACC) is responsible for ensuring that research, teaching, or testing involving animals conducted at Wilfrid Laurier University complies with the Animals for Research Act (Province of Ontario), the guidelines and policy statements of the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), and any other relevant municipal, provincial or federal laws or guidelines. The University works with the Animal Care Committee to ensure that all animal users and caregivers are informed of and comply with institutional animal care and use policies. The WLU Animal Care Committee reports directly to Vice-President: Research, and is composed of three faculty members, one each from the Departments of Biology, Kinesiology and Physical Education, and Psychology; a veterinarian; a faculty member who is a non-animal user from the Faculty of Science; one or two lay persons from the community-at-large representing the community interests and concerns; two student representatives, preferably one graduate and one honours undergraduate, from either the Department of Biology, Kinesiology and Physical Education or Psychology; the ACC Coordinator (ex-officio); the Animal care supervisor (ex-officio); The Director: Safety, Health, Environment & Risk Management (ex-officio), and the Director: Research Services, also in an ex-officio capacity. The Committee is appointed by the Vice-President: Research, on the advice of the Dean of Science, and adheres to University Policy 11.5 on the Use of Animals in Research, Testing and Teaching
The Committee has the authority, on behalf of the Vice-President: Research, to:
a) stop any procedure if it considers that unnecessary distress or pain is being experienced by the animal.
b) terminate immediately any experiment involving animals which deviates from the approved proposal.
c) humanely kill an animal if pain or distress caused to the animal cannot be alleviated.
It is the responsibility of the WLU Animal Care Committee to:
a) ensure that no research or testing project or teaching program (including field studies) involving animals be commenced without prior Committee approval of a written animal use protocol; further to this, that no animals be acquired before such approval. This applies to internally-funded projects as well.
b) review and assess all animal use protocols, employing the standards, guidelines, principles, and regulations included in the CCAC's Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals and Ethics of Animal Investigation and, where necessary, require further supportive information from the investigator or meet with the investigator to assure that all members of the Committee understand the procedures to be used on the animal. It must also assure that all procedures comply with CCAC guidelines, and if at variance with those guidelines, require justification for the variance on scientific grounds.
c) be cognizant of all modifications to protocols. When these involve major changes in animal utilization, new protocols must be submitted.
d) assure that all animal users are familiar with CCAC's Guide and Ethics statement, federal, provincial or municipal statutes that may apply, as well as institutional requirements.
e) establish procedures to ensure that: unnecessary pain or distress is avoided; anesthesia and analgesia are properly and effectively used where indicated (the only exception to this may be when agents must be withheld as a requirement of the study); painful studies requiring exemption from the use of either anaesthetics or analgesia are subject to particular scrutiny, not only prior to approval, but during the experiment; post-operative care commensurate with current veterinary concepts is provided.
In most instances, the WLU Animal Care Committee shall review protocols from the viewpoint of the ethical aspects of the procedures and the acceptability of the methodologies proposed. However, for those projects that have not been subject to external peer review for scientific merit, the Committee may require that such be obtained, or alternately shall be prepared to assess the protocol on scientific as well as ethical grounds. In such cases it may be prudent to seek assistance from scientists knowledgeable in the field of research indicated by the protocol.
As noted, no project should be commenced without prior approval of the WLU Animal Care Committee. The Committee may delegate the responsibility of giving interim approval to the Chair or a subcommittee of the Animal Care Committee; however, such interim approvals must be subject to final approval by the whole Committee.