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 (email@example.com). 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 (email@example.com ). 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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.