Animal care and use program

Yukon University (YukonU) is committed to providing humane treatment and care of animals in accordance with the standards and principles established by the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC). These standards and principles apply to all faculty, staff, students and affiliates that use of animals in teaching and research.

There are 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 acceptable standards for experimental animal care and use

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. Yukon University 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 NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR, the University also complies with the conditions of the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions.

Yukon University is currently certified by the Canadian Council on Animal Care as being in accordance with standards of GAP - Good Animal Practice®.

The Animal Care Committee (ACC) appointed by, and accountable to, the Associate Vice-President Research, serves to ensure YukonU meets all regulatory requirements. The ACC conduct ethical reviews and monitors approved animal use protocols for activities involving animals in research and teaching (including field studies). 

All research and teaching activities involving animals requires YukonU ACC approval prior to the starting the activity as per University policy.

ACC Review Process

Expected Review Turnaround Time:  6-8 weeks.  Planning ahead is important.

Note: If you are applying for a teaching related activity you must have Pedagogical Merit Review approval before submitting your animal use protocol application. (see details in Forms section below)


Policy and Principles

Policy requires all animal users submit an animal use protocol (AUP) form to the Animal Care Committee for review and approval.  This must be submitted and approved before:

  • any animal use in teaching, testing or research begins
  • the release of funds (in the case of funded research)
  • any animals are acquired, held or used

CCAC Ethics of Animal Investigation

    Animal Care and Use Training

    All personnel involved in animal-based research and teaching must be knowledgeable and adequately trained in the principles of humane experimental science and ethical issues associated with the use of animals, including the Three Rs tenet (replacement, reduction and refinement). All students, staff and faculty who have no previous experience in animal care are required to take mandatory training prior to conducting research or teaching.

    The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) provides training events (national workshops and webinars) and training modules.

    Access to the CCAC training modules available at https://ccac.ca/en/training/modules/.

    The Institutional Animal User Training program is provided through Research Services. You should contact the Research Ethics Office for more information on training resources and determining requirements.

    Animal Use Forms and Guidelines

    Applications must be received in full to be presented to the Animal Care Committee (ACC) for review. Complete the appropriate form below and submit it to the ACC coordinator, Valoree Walker.


    Exceptions to ACC Review: Some research, teaching or other activities that do not require full review by the Animal Care Committee including
    • Research or teaching protocols that are Category A of Invasiveness
      • Observation of wild animals (where the research does not involve modification of the environment that might affect animal behavior)
      • Invertebrate animal research (below Class Cephalopoda).
      • Work involving live isolates (ex. excreta/parasites collected from the environment without handling live animals, zebrafish embryos less than 96 hours old, chick embryos at less than 2/3 incubation).
      • Work involving animal derived tissues or cadavers (animals found dead or tissue obtained from a slaughterhouse or animals euthanized under another animal use protocol for that research).
      • Other activities that involve interacting with animals that are not research, teaching or testing, may also not require ethics review, but may still require consideration of animal welfare, human health and safety, or other issues that need to be addressed.
    • To ensure that your research or teaching activity does not require a review we recommend completing the ACC Exceptions Form and submitting to the ACC Coordinator (vwalker@yukonu.ca) for confirmation before beginning any of these types of activities. You can also consult with the ACC Chair (tstehelin@yukonu.ca) about your activity to confirm requirements.

    Other activities that do not require ACC review include pets or display animals (e.g. fish) kept in offices or public areas unrelated to research or teaching activities involving interaction with animals not related to teaching or research. This includes but is not limited to the following:

    • The use of therapy animals on campus
    • The use of animals on campus for social events / student club events
    • Third-party, animal-based activities held on campus (e.g. dog club / training using campus facilities

    Details on what requires review and exceptions are provided in the CCAC document Requirement for Submitting an Animal Protocol - Addendum to the CCAC policy statement on: terms of reference for animal care committees (May, 2020)


    Reporting Concerns Regarding Animal Care and Use in Research and Teaching
    Yukon University invites open discussion of all topics surrounding the use of animals in research and teaching. It is the responsibility of everyone working with animals at the University to ensure adherence to approved animal use protocols.  We want to ensure safe disclosure of concerns related to animal involvement in research and teaching at Yukon University.  At any time, members of the community may email the Research Ethics Office with questions or concerns.  Anyone witnessing or are aware of questionable animal use conduct, may report anonymously to the Yukon University Animal Care Coordinator (Dr. Valoree Walker, vwalker@yukonu.ca) or to the Associate Vice President Research (Dr. Bronwyn Hancock, bhancock@yukonu.ca). These concerns will be forwarded automatically to the YukonU Consulting Veterinarian and the YukonU Animal Care Committee to initiate an investigation. Use this form for reporting.


    Pedagogical Merit Review

    In compliance with the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) requirements, a pedagogical merit assessment must be completed for course work that involves animal-based activities. This is to determine whether a proposal for the use of animals in teaching is essential to achieving successful learning outcomes or whether replacement alternatives could be (partially or completely) used. This must be completed prior to the Animal Use Protocol (AUP) review by the YukonU Animal Care Committee.

    CCAC Policy: Pedagogical Merit of live animal-based teaching and training

    CCAC FAQs: Pedagogical Merit of Live Animal-Based Teaching and Training (July 2020)


    Scientific Merit Review

    Research that involves the use of animals requires evidence of scientific merit before they can be considered for approval by the Yukon University Animal Care Committee. When an application submitted to the ACC has not been reviewed and/or funded by a peer reviewed grant competition, an independent review must be solicited by the Research Services Office. Researchers must complete a Study Summary for Scientific Merit Review and may recommend two possible experts in the field as potential reviewers.  The ACC review can only proceed once two favorable scientific merit reviews are received.

    CCAC policy statement on: scientific merit and ethical review of animal-based research

    CCAC FAQs on Scientific Merit & Ethical Review of Animal-Based Research (May 2019)

    The AVPR will facilitate the scientific merit review process between the Principal Investigator, Peer Reviewers and YukonU ACC.


    Additional Information

    CCAC Categories of Invasiveness - Wildlife

    Animal Care Committee

    ACC Responsibilities

    The Animal Care Committee works to promote animal welfare and allay some of the public concerns for animal experimentation by ensuring:

    • the adequate care of animals in all stages of life
    • veterinary assistance in the case of sickness, injury or elective procedures
    • regular site visits are undertaken
    • each project is found to have scientific merit through independent peer review
    • the establishment and implementation of procedures corresponding with current veterinary standards

    The Animal Care Committee has the responsibility to guarantee that no animal protocols move forward without prior approval. This involves:

    • providing all ACC members and animal users with access to CCAC guidelines
    • assisting animal users in completing and submitting the appropriate protocol form
    • approving and documenting all modifications to approved protocols before they are implemented
    • annually reviewing all on-going protocols
    • maintaining an appropriate appeal process
    • documenting and attaching all ACC discussions and decisions to the protocol
    • YukonU ACC Terms of Reference

    Membership Terms

    The University Animal Care Committee includes representation from the following areas:

    • two (2) Faculty or staff members and one alternate with experience in animal care and use
    • one (1) veterinarian experienced in experimental animal care and use
    • one (1) institutional member who normal activities, past and present, do not depend on or involve animal use for research, teaching or testing
    • one (1) representative from Occupational Health and Safety
    • one (1) student representative
    • one (1) or two (2) community representatives, who have no affiliation with the University and who has not been involved in animal use for research, teaching or testing.
    • University animal facility technician or manager
    • ACC Coordinator (ex officio)
    • others as deemed appropriate – these individuals may be asked to review protocols as the need arises.

    ACC authority

    The Animal Care Committee has the authority to:

    • approve, decline or request modifications to animal use in teaching, testing or research
    • stop any objectionable procedure
    • immediately stop any use of animals that deviates from the approved use
    • have an animal killed humanely if deemed necessary
    • Post-Approval Monitoring Program

    This describes the Yukon University Post-Approval Monitoring (PAM) program to monitor the work with animals in Animal Use Protocols (AUP) following Animal Care Committee (ACC) approval. This program includes facility site visits when procedures are being performed, evaluation of document and record keeping, a comparison of the actual activities being performed and those that are approved on the protocol, and the use of endpoint monitoring, Annual Renewals and Facility Assessments.

    Additional Details: The Animal Care Committee And the Role of its Members (CCAC document, March 2021)


    Committee Membership 2020-21

    • Dr. Tara Stehelin, Chair
    • Dr. Katie Aitken
    • Dr. Scott Gilbert
    • Jennifer Moorlag
    • Maciej Stetkiewicz (Health and Safety)
    • Julie Kerr (Community member)
    • Elise Brown-Dussault (Student member)
    • Audrey-Ann Martin (Community member)
    • Dr. Jane Harms (Veterinarian)
    • Dr. Mary Vanderkop (Veterinarian)
    • Dr. Valoree Walker (Animal Care Coordinator)

    Policies and regulations
    Yukon University
    National

    The Canadian Council on Animal Care is the National Peer Review agency responsible for setting and maintaining standards for the care and use of animals in research, teaching and testing throughout Canada. https://www.ccac.ca/

    Canadian Legislation and Policies

    Meeting dates and protocol submission deadlines

    The Committee will meet at least 3 times per year.  Animal Use Protocol submissions should be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to a scheduled meeting date. The following are proposed meeting dates.

    • January 29, 2021
    • March 12, 2021
    • March 26, 2021
    • April 23, 2021
    • June 4, 2021
    • August 20, 2021
    • November 5, 2021
    • February 18, 2022
    • April 29, 2022

    For more information about meetings and deadlines for protocol submissions contact the ACC Coordinator

     

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Do I need permission for the use of animals in research and teaching at Yukon University?

    Yes. All YukonU and affiliated researchers and instructors must obtain Animal Care Committee (ACC) approval prior to beginning any studies or teaching activity that involves using animals. ACC clearance is required to be in place prior to the release of grant or award funding.

    What is the Animal Care Committee (ACC)?

    Animal ethics and care for research or teaching purposes in Canadian institutions is subject to the policies and guidelines of the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) and is overseen, at the local level, by institutional animal care committees. The animal care committee’s functioning is based on the CCAC policy statement on: terms of reference for animal care committees (CCAC, 2006).  Yukon University has established an Animal Care Committee to review and provide clearance for protocols involving the use of animals and also conducting post-approval monitoring.

    My project involves the simple observation of animals in their natural habitat. Do I still need to submit an Animal Use Protocol to the Animal Care Committee?

    If the presence of researchers at the location of observation has any likelihood of causing habituation to humans or altering the animals’ behavior during their presence, then an Animal Use Protocol would be required (example: paddling kayaks closely towards nesting birds would likely cause the nesting birds to become agitated). If the presence of researchers / instructors and students at the location of observation is unlikely to induce habituation to humans or alter the animals’ behavior during their presence, then an Animal Use Protocol is not required (example: enumerating bird species that land on a beach normally occupied/used for recreation activities by humans). If there is any question as to whether your project needs a protocol, please send a brief description of the project to the Research Ethics Coordinator (vwalker@yukonu.ca). The chair of the Animal Care Committee will review your description to determine whether further information or an Animal Use Protocol will be required.

    I have no way of knowing how many animals we are going to observe/capture, which is why we are doing the research. How should I answer these questions in the Animal Use Protocol application?

    The Animal Care Committee recognizes that field research can be unpredictable. You are expected to review current and historical databases, contact local, provincial and national wildlife authorities, and use statistical population models (where they exist) to provide a “best estimate” of the numbers and species you should expect to encounter in your field study. The Animal Care Committee normally recommends that researchers err on the high side. Numbers can be refined (upward or downward) as researchers become more informed about expected populations and species during their field studies.

    During my field activities,I encountered (captured/observed) unintended species that were not listed on my Animal Use Protocol. What should I do?

    The Animal Care Committee realizes that fieldwork can be somewhat unpredictable. Please contact the Research Ethics Coordinator (vwalker@yukonu.ca) as soon as you are aware that you have encountered unintended species. They will guide you through the process of amending your protocol and notifying the Committee.

    For the Animal Use Protocol application, what constitutes an "Animal Used” ? My research/teaching activity does not involve the capture, housing, or handling of animals; only observation. How should I answer this question?

    If you are encountering animals through observation or any other means in such a way that their behavior may be affected, that constitutes a “use”, regardless of whether or not the animal is captured, housed or handled, and whether or not it is the targeted species. For example, if your protocol describes minnow trapping species in a pond, all animals trapped are “used”, regardless of species. If your protocol describes a bait station from which still or motion‐detected photographs are taken of animals, each animal entering the bait station is “used”. If your protocol describes seine netting where all animals are released, each animal caught in the seine is “used”.  Please contact the Research Ethics Coordinator (vwalker@yukonu.ca) if you have questions on “animals used” or any other aspect of your protocol. They will direct your question to the person best able to answer it for you.
     

    My field activity includes capturing vertebrate and invertebrate species. Should I include the invertebrates on my Animal Use Protocol?

    No. Currently, only vertebrate species and cephalopods (octopus, squid) fall under an Animal Use Protocol. However, licenses sometimes do require the enumeration of invertebrate species. Please check with the relevant (territorial, federal, municipal) licensing body.

    What should I do if I am coming close to exceeding or have already exceeded the animal numbers listed on my Animal Use Protocol?

    Please contact the Research Ethics Coordinator (vwalker@yukonu.ca) as soon as you are aware that you are coming close to or have exceeded your approved animal numbers. Your protocol must be amended to reflect increased numbers. You will need to complete the Request to Amend an Approved Animal Use Protocol.  If the increase is less than 10% of your currently approved numbers, this is considered a minor amendment. If the increase required is greater than 10% of your currently approved numbers, the Research Ethics Coordinator will guide you through the process of amending your protocol.

    During the field season, animals that we captures experienced unexpected injuries/mortalities. What should we do?

    Please contact the Research Ethics Coordinator (vwalker@yukonu.ca) as soon as you can after the event. Do not wait until you prepare your annual field report. The Coordinator will lead you through the process of reporting the unexpected event to the Animal Care Committee.

    How do I know if the agency that has granted me funding conducts scientific peer review as part of its process?

    All Tri‐Council agencies (SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR) and many other organizations (e.g. Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, The Arthritis Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada) provide a peer review for scientific merit. If you are unsure whether or not your funding application was peer reviewed for scientific merit, please contact the Research Ethics Coordinator for further guidance (vwalker@yukonu.ca).

    What should I do if my research has not been reviewed by an agency that conducts a scientific peer review?
    Please contact the Research Ethics Coordinator for further guidance (vwalker@yukonu.ca ). The Research Services Office will coordinate a process of independent peer review.

    I have a new project, and fieldwork needs to begin over the summer months. I have missed the meeting deadlines for applications to the Animal Care Committee and they do not meet over the summer months. What should I do?

    Please contact the Research Ethics Coordinator (vwalker@yukonu.ca). During the summer months, protocols are handled via an interim committee that is struck by the Chair of the Animal Care Committee. Following submission of the protocol, a decision is communicated to the researcher/instructor normally within 10 business days.

    COVID-19 Information and Updates

    The YukonU ACC through the Associate Vice-President Research and YukonU continue to monitor the local, territorial, and global situation, adapting our work and communications based on new information and new recommendations by Yukon Government Chief Medical Office of Health.  The latest YukonU COVID-19 response information here

    CCAC Updates Concerning COVID-19

    Government of Canada - Information about Animals and COVID-19

    The virus that causes COVID-19 is different from other coronaviruses that affect domestic animals. Learn how to keep pets and livestock, as well as yourself, safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. This site contains information about:

    • Risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people
    • Pets and COVID-19
    • Livestock and other farmed animals
    • Tests for COVID-19 in animals
    • Vaccine against COVID-19 for animals
    • Importing animals
    • Availability of animal health products
    • Information and guidance for veterinarians

     

    Contact us

    You can direct questions or concerns about animal care and use requirements to the ACC Coordinator Dr. Valoree Walker, the ACC Chair Dr. Tara Stehelin or the YukonU ACC Veterinarian Dr. Jane Harms or Dr. Mary Vanderkop.

    ACC Coordinator

    Dr. Valoree Walker

    Research Ethics Coordinator

    YukonU Research Centre

     

    ACC Chair

    Dr. Tara Stehelin
    B.Sc., M.Sc., PhD

    Instructor, Biology/Coordinator, Renewable Resources Management Program

    School of Science
    Applied Science and Management

     

    Dr. Jane Harms

    YukonU ACC Veterinarian
    Program Veterinarian, Yukon Government
    Department of Environment
    Animal Health Unit
    867.667.8663
    Jane.Harms@yukon.ca

    Dr. Mary Vanderkop

    YukonU ACC Veterinarian (April 2021 - March 2022)
    Chief Veterinary Officer
    Department of Environment
    Animal Health Unit
    867-456-5582
    Mary.Vanderkop@yukon.ca