All research, teaching or testing that involves animals requires review and approval by the Animal Welfare Committee (AWC). The use of animals for research, teaching and testing is a privilege, one that comes with important responsibilities:
- to ensure that good science is conducted;
- to meet ethical responsibilities for ensuring that every animal is treated humanely and not subjected to unnecessary pain or distress, and;
- to work within the accepted standards for experimental animal care and use.
The University adheres to the national standards outlined by the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC). When animals are used in science or other activities, the primary concern of the University is to minimize the discomfort to the animals, and ensure that their care and use be in accordance with the guidelines of CCAC. Some of CCAC's core values are embedded in the "Three Rs" policy concept of replacement, reduction, and refinement of animals. The Three Rs stipulate that harm be minimized when animals are being used for scientific pursuits.
The CCAC program is based on scientific peer review, policy making, and responsibility at the institutional level, and they monitor compliance through their assessment program. The University of Lethbridge holds the CCAC Certificate of Good Animal Practice, indicating that it is in compliance with these national standards set by the CCAC. For projects funded by CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC, the University also complies with the conditions of the Tri-Council Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions - Section 3.5: Research Involving Animals.
The AWC normally meets monthly to review new protocols and major amendments for animal-based studies; a continuous intake and review process is used for minor amendments. Protocol approvals are valid for one year, and it is the responsibility of the researcher to maintain ethics certification for the protocol for the duration of the research. Ongoing research must be renewed on an annual basis on or before the expiry date of the protocol ethics approval by submitting the renewal report or new protocol for review by the AWC. A research protocol may be renewed through submission of a renewal report up to a maximum of 3 renewals, after which a new protocol is required. Access to grant funds is contingent on valid ethics certification being in place for the funded research.
For research involving animals, contact: the Ethics Officer or contact the University Veterinarian:
Dr. Keiko McCreary,
Office of Research Ethics
B627, University Hall
University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4
Phone: (403) 332-4433
Fax: (403) 382-7185
Dr. Isabelle Gauthier,
EP1147, Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience
University of Lethbridge
4401 University Drive Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4
Phone: (403) 394-3995
Fax: (403) 329-2775